Indian Graft Trial Begins

Posted November 11th, 2011 at 3:35 am (UTC-5)
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The trial of an Indian government minister, charged in connection with the country's biggest corruption scandal, began Friday in New Delhi.

A. Raja, India's former telecommunications minister, has denied wrongdoing in a scandal that is believed to have cost the Indian government up to $40 billion in lost revenue.

Raja and more than a dozen other defendants are accused of conspiring to sell cellular phone licenses at cut-rate prices to the benefit of a few companies. They are charged with conspiracy, cheating and other crimes.

Raja, who resigned as telecom minister last year, had said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the country's then-finance minister knew about the sale and approved his decision.

Mr. Singh's ruling Congress Party has been beset by other corruption scandals, including allegations of widespread graft during the 2010 Commonwealth Games, which were hosted by India.