After former coal secretary P C Parakh slammed the CBI in his book last year, former Trai chairman Pradip Baijal has alleged in his book that the agency forced him to implicate industrialist Ratan Tata and former Cabinet minister Arun Shourie if he wanted to save himself.
Probed in several enquiries and FIRs since 2010 including the 2G spectrum scam, disinvestment of Hindustan Zinc and Laxmi Vilas Hotel, the retired bureaucrat ripped into the CBI and claimed that it “harasses upright civil servants and political opponents of the government in power”.
Baijal, who was probed for several years for his role in the 2G scam and disinvestment of properties (he was disinvestment secretary when Laxmi Vilas Palace Hotel was sold to Bharat Hotels in 2002), claims UPA II ruined his reputation to divert corruption charges against its coalition government.
He made a special mention of the UPA-2 government, alleging that the previous regime gave “unrestrained powers to the CBI to deal with their political opponents, hoping to cover up their own sins by forcing CBI directors to make choices in their favour. I too suffered in many cases”, he claimed.
Baijal wrote that the CBI was aggressive against him during the enquiries, which he likened to a witch hunt. “They (CBI) would alternately threaten to harm me and my family and then dangle a carrot of sparing me if I implicated Ratan Tata and Arun Shourie,” he said in the chapter ‘The 2G scam and a retired bureaucrat’s ordeal’.
The CBI was probing Baijal in several cases including the 2G scam, enquiries arising out of Niira Radia tapes in which Tata group companies were also being probed. The CBI has closed most of the probes as it did not find any evidence.
“In the 2G case, they (CBI) had told me that there was an open and shut case against me, and an FIR would be filed soon, and I would be arrested. Perhaps the CBI officers were trying to treat their bruised egos at the instance of their old masters. They had warned me in each case that I would be harmed if I did not cooperate,” he claimed.
In a self-published tell-all book, former Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) chairman Pradip Baijal has alleged that the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh warned him of “harm” if he didn’t cooperate in the 2G case.
In a separate chapter, Baijal refers to the alleged warning from Singh: “They (CBI) had warned me in each case (cases related to 2G scam and disinvestments) that I would be harmed if I didn’t cooperate. Incidentally, this was exactly what the eminent economist Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) had told me would happen if I did not cooperate in their scheme of things in the 2G case.”