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BW Businessworld

Long Tentacles

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The submission by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to the Supreme Court on 1 September on the 2G spectrum case kicked off a political firestorm. The CBI said it intended to prove possible abuses by telecom ministers of the NDA-led government — Arun Shourie and the late Pramod Mahajan.

The CBI's case took another hit from a report by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), which said decisions taken by former telecom minister A. Raja, the main accused in the case, were not against the prevailing policy. Predictably, the BJP accused the CBI of kowtowing to the government's orders.

The CBI may have no trouble showing some losses to the exchequer occurred while moving from licence fees to a revenue-sharing arrangement, but now NDA ministers may have to explain those decisions to the court.

Spreading the ambit of the probe so far back to include so many reminds one of Ogden Nash: "Tell me, octopus, I begs/Is they arms or is they legs?/If I were you, octopus,/ I'd call me us."

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 12-09-2011)