NEW DELHI: Holding that not everybody associated with a particular decision can be roped in as an accused, the special CBI court on Saturday dismissed Janata party chief Subramanian Swamy’s plea to make Union Home Minister P Chidambaram a co-accused in the multi-crore 2G spectrum allocation scam.
The trial court made it clear in its order on Saturday that there was no material on record to suggest Chidambaram was acting with corrupt or illegal motives or was in abuse of his official position while consenting to two decisions.
“Mr P Chidambaram was party to only two decisions that is, keeping the spectrum prices at 2001 level and dilution of equity by the two companies. These two acts are not per se criminal. In the absence of any other incriminating act on his part, it cannot be said that he was prima facie party to the criminal conspiracy. There is no evidence on record that he was acting in pursuit to the criminal conspiracy, while being party to the two decisions regarding non-revision of the spectrum pricing and dilution of equity by the two companies,” said special CBI judge O P Saini.
Stating that non-revision of prices was not an illegal act by itself, the court said that the competent authority was always at liberty to decide in its discretion to not to revise the prices or fee for any goods or services. Swamy had alleged that Chidambaram, during his tenure as Finance Minister, allowed two accused telecom firms – Swan Telecom and Unitech wireless – to earn windfall profits by offloading their shares to UAE-based Etisalat and Norwegian firm Telenor respectively after getting the Unified Access Services Licenses (UASL). Swan telecom and Unitech wireless sold their controlling shares at about seven to eight times what they had paid to government as fees for allotment of both license and 2G spectrum.
“There is no evidence on record to suggest that there was an agreement between him (Chidambaram) and A Raja to subvert telecom policy and obtain pecuniary advantage for himself or for any other person. There is no evidence of any substantive act being committed by him. A bit of evidence here and a bit there does not constitute prima facie evidence for showing prima facie existence of a criminal conspiracy. Anybody and everybody associated with a decision in any degree cannot be roped as an accused,” Saini said.
Reacting to the verdict, Swamy said he will move the apex court within a month to challenge the order as he has a “very very strong case”. Swamy described Saini as a “good man” but said the “order is bad” and he was surprised by it.