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Telecom scam: Raja's statement cannot be treated as evidence, says Mukherjee

London, Tue, 26 Jul 2011 ANI

London, July 26 (ANI): Visiting Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has said that former telecom minister A. Raja's statement on Monday suggesting that the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, and the then finance minister, P. Chidambaram, were aware of all decisions related to the allocation of 2G spectrum to interested parties, and that he alone could not be prosecuted in the so-called telecom scam, could not be treated as evidence.


Interacting with mediapersons here, Mukherjee said: ""I do not know what evidence he (Raja) has given. I read some news that he has made some statements. And naturally, these issues are, one is to go into details of it, what he said and in what context he said. But, but I don't think that apart from the statement, it can be treated as an evidence."


Mukherjee added that since the matter is in court, it is in the best interest to allow the jurisdiction to take the final decision.


"The matter is being agitated in the court; it is for the court to decide," added Mukherjee.


The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has charged Raja of having received bribes in connection with a multi-billion dollar telecom corruption scandal to the tune of 39 billion dollars that rocked governance and investor sentiment in Asia's third-largest economy.


Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's second term has been hit by a series of graft scandals that have sparked off public anger and paralysed policymaking, diverting the government's attention from nurturing flagging economic growth and pushing forward reforms.


Talking about inflation, Mukherjee said that though it has fallen, yet it was not at the acceptable level.


"So far, the interest rates are concerned, you have noticed in the last 16 months, Reserve Bank of India have adjusted the repo rates, reverse repo rates and on one occasion CRR (Cash Reserve Ratio) towards upward by mainly 25 basis points and on one occasion 50 basis points. Inflation has come down but it is not at the acceptable level," said Mukherjee.


Talking about food inflation, he said that it has come down to 8 percent plus in the month of July.


"Food inflation which was as high as 22 percent in February 2010, has come down to 8 percent plus in the month of July last week of the latest figure which is available but still it is not acceptable. It should be around five-six percent; therefore, further steps are called for. We are moving cautiously to ensure that interest rate is not too high, so that it denies credit to the legitimate requirement of the industry for investment," said Mukherjee.


Annual food inflation eased to a seven-week low, but the knock-on effects of last month's increase in diesel, kerosene and cooking gas prices are expected to nudge up food prices.


In the previous week, annual food inflation stood at 8.96 percent. Food articles have a weight of little over 14 percent in India's inflation basket.


Earlier, the country's central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) raised key interest rate by 25 basis points for the tenth time in 15 months to combat sticky inflation, which is currently hovering above 9 percent.


The RBI has signalled that more increases will take place in the near future even as growth in Asia's third-largest economy is slowing down.ithout elaborating further, Mukherjee said: "The matter is being agitated in the court; it is for the court to decide." (ANI)


Read More: Chidambaram | Bank | Mon | Inflation

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