India telecoms minister refuses to quit over licences

A Raja Mr Raja has denied the allegations

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India's telecommunications minister has rejected calls that he resign over claims that licences were improperly allocated to mobile phone firms.

Opposition anger over A Raja's alleged role in the sale of second generation (2G) licences has been growing.

Mr Raja's ministry issued licences on a "first-come first-served" basis instead of auctioning them, reports say.

Federal auditors reportedly estimate billions of dollars were lost as a result. Mr Raja denies any wrongdoing.

In May, India's auction of third generation (3G) bandwidth for mobile phone services ended with the government reaping $15bn, twice the sum expected.

There are about half a billion mobile phone subscribers in India, the world's fastest growing mobile market.

'We will prove everything'

Earlier this week, two senior members of India's governing Congress party resigned over separate corruption allegations.

Ashok Chavan quit as the chief minister of western Maharashtra state amid allegations he was involved in homes meant for war widows being transferred to politicians and military officers.

Controversial Commonwealth Games organiser Suresh Kalmadi also quit his party post.

Opposition parties, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party, have now demanded the resignation of Mr Raja, and said the "scam" should be investigated by a joint parliamentary committee.

Mr Raja - who belongs to the DMK party, an ally of the governing Congress party - says there is "no question" of his resigning.

"We will prove that everything has been done according to the law. The entire matter is with the courts. It may not be fair on my part to comment on this," he told reporters.

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