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New Year 2012 : A Raja celebrates in style with 12,000 Tihar prisoners

New Delhi, Jan 2 (): Former communications minister A. Raja, who is presently in Tihar jail facing 2G trial welcomed the New Year 2012 with a hope that this year will bring some fortune and let him breathe some fresh air. He was accompanied by Suresh Kalmadi, former president of Indian Olympic Association.

Raja has been lodged there since February 2011 for his alleged role in the 2G spectrum scam. Kalmadi was arrested in April last year for awarding illegal contracts to a Swiss firm for Timing-Scoring-Result (TSR) system for the 2010 Commonwealth Games causing a loss of Rs 95 crore to the exchequer .

A.Raja and Kalmadi, being VIP prisoners, were allowed to speak over phone to their families. Telephone facility in Tihar is available only to well-behaved prisoners. They also greeted fellow prisoners and accepted sweets from officials. In Tihar, which houses more than 12,000 prisoners, a special lunch of vegetable curry with paneer, kheer, halwa, puri, parathas and pulao was served to mark New Year.

The trial in the 2G spectrum allocation scam case, involving former Telecom Minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and corporate honchos as accused, will resume on Monday in a Delhi court after a week’s break.

The day-to-day trial in the special court had to be adjourned for a week due to winter break and would continue from tomorrow with Raja questioning his former aide Aseervatham Achary, a key witness in the case. Achary, who is testifying as seventh prosecution witness, has so far stood by his earlier statements made to the CBI indicting Raja and others.

Raja, however, had told the court that it was a “drama” by Achary and it was “planned” in “collusion” with the CBI to “adversely impact” co-accused RK Chandolia’s bail plea, which is slated for hearing in the Supreme Court this month.

Raja’s counsel Sushil Kumar told the court that the drama created by Achary in court on Dec 22, by alleging that he had received life threats from a man present in court, was meant to impact the hearing on Chandolia’s bail plea in the apex court.

“Achary was repeatedly saying that the man who is accused of threatening Achary was sitting with Chandolia,” the lawyer said, adding that this could influence Chandolia’s bail plea.