NEW DELHI: The 2G case that reshaped the political discourse of the country and telescoped into the fall of the Manmohan Singh government, was on Thursday ripped apart and thrown out by the special court. The 33 accused, including former telecom minister A Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi, were acquitted in three different cases.
It was all conjectures about a big scam when there was none. That’s how Special CBI judge OP Saini summed up the case giving a big blow to the CAG’s and CBI’s estimation of huge loss in grant of 2G licences. In a further embarrassment for the CBI, all of its crucial witnesses, including former telecom secretary D S Mathur, then Solicitor General G E Vahanvati, Department of Telecom official A K Srivastava were also discredited by the court.
“The chargesheet of the instant case is based mainly on misreading, selective reading, non-reading and out of context reading of the official record. Further, it is based on some oral statements made by the witnesses during investigation, which the witnesses have not owned up in the witness-box,” the judge said while acquitting the 17 accused, that included 14 individuals and three companies, in the main corruption case. The verdict instantly cheered up the accused and their families. The happiness of DMK supporters, who had reached the court early in the morning, knew no bounds as they danced and raised slogans in favour of Raja and Kanimozhi.
While the CAG had pegged a loss of `1.76 lakh crore to the state exchequer, the CBI had said the loss was of `30,984 crore in the allocation of 2G spectrum licences, which were scrapped by the Supreme Court on February 2, 2012. The court held that some people “artfully” arranged a few selected facts and created a scam “when there was none”. According to the court, the lack of clarity about government policies and guidelines further added to the confusion. “There is no material on record to show that A Raja was mother lode of conspiracy in the instant case. There is also no evidence of his no-holds-barred immersion in any wrongdoing, conspiracy or corruption,” the judge said.
The court also lashed out at the CBI for dragging former PM Manmohan Singh into the case and exonerated Raja of charges of misleading the then PM.
In the main 2G case, the CBI had accused Raja and 16 others of indulging in criminality by advancement of cut-off date for receiving applications for spectrum allocation, manipulation of firstcome-first-served policy, ignoring ineligibility of accused firms Swan Telecom Private Limited and Unitech group companies and transfer of `200 crore to Kalaignar TV (P) Limited as illegal gratification.