A special CBI court on Thursday acquitted all accused in the 2G spectrum scam case including A Raja and DMK chief M Karunanidhi’s daughter M K Kanimozhi, saying the CBI “miserably failed” to prove charges against any of the 17 accused.
In its judgment, the court said, "A huge scam was seen by everyone where there was none...some people created a scam by artfully arranging a few selected facts and exaggerating things beyond recognition to astronomical levels."
In his judgement, special CBI judge O P Saini said, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed a “well-choreographed” charge sheet against former Telecom Minister A Raja and others accused.
He said, “There is no evidence on the record produced before the court indicating any criminality in the acts allegedly committed by the accused persons.”
Others acquitted in the case are former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, Raja's erstwhile private secretary R K Chandolia, Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra and three top executives of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (RADAG) Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair.
The special court’s verdict has come as a huge sigh of relief for ex-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh under whose tenure the alleged scam said to have taken place.
The 2G spectrum allocation scam case had been repeatedly highlighted by the BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha election and became one of the reasons for Congress party’s major defeat in elections across India.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh welcomed the verdict and said, "I am glad that the court has pronounced unambiguously. All the massive propaganda which was being done against the UPA was without any foundation. The judgement speaks for itself.”
The verdict also brought huge relief for the Congress party which said the special court’s judgment has exposed BJP for its “untruth and propaganda.”
The party said the truth in the 2G spectrum allocation case had finally prevailed and Prime Minister Narendra Modi should apologise to the nation for its "propaganda" against the Grand-Old Party.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala addressing a press conference said, "The BJP has been exposed for its untruth and propaganda against Congress. The prime minister, (Finance Minister Arun) Jaitley and the BJP should apologise to the nation."
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley hit back at Congress and taunted that the party was treating the 2G verdict as a “badge of honour”.
“The Congress is treating 2G verdict as a badge of honour, but its zero loss theory was proven wrong when the Supreme Court quashed spectrum allocation in February 2012,” Jaitley told reporters.
He said, the party’s “zero loss theory” was proved wrong when the apex court cancelled spectrum allocation in 2012.
Though the trial court verdict says nobody was guilty of corruption, investigating agencies will study the case history and look into it, the minister asserted.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said the 2G verdict was examined “prima facie” and the agency will appeal against special court’s judgement in the Delhi High Court.
CBI said, “Today’s judgement has been prima facie examined & it appears that evidence adduced to substantiate charges by the prosecution has not been appreciated in its proper perspective by the learned court. CBI will be taking necessary legal remedies in the matter.
"CBI will appeal against special court's verdict in 2G case in Delhi High Court," CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal said.
The special CBI court’s verdict in the 2G scam case left BJP leader and senior lawyer Subramanian Swamy, who exposed the exposed the alleged multi crore scam, disappointed.
Swamy condemned Modi govt’s controlling of the entire case and said “PM should take lessons” from the special court's verdict.
Terming the verdict as a “bad judgement” Swamy said, “This is a big condemnation of the Govt's controlling of the case. I hope the PM takes lesson from this. We must now fight corruption on war footing,” Swamy said expressing his disappointment.”
He said, “the lackadaisical counsels have derailed the 2G spectrum scam case but it can be put back on track again provided we have honest law officers and lawyers who don't do 'chamchagiri' of ministers.”
In January, 2008, the former telecom minister A. Raja issued licences and allotted 2G spectrum of 4.4 MHz along with it to six new telecom operators at the 2001 price. The ministry charged only Rs 1,650 crore from an operator for Pan India spectrum.
The 2G scam case gained notoriety in 2010 when the then Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) Vinod Rai came out with a report that the 2G spectrum was allocated at throwaway price causing a loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the state exchequer.
Interestingly, in its charge sheet CBI has said that the scam caused a loss of Rs 30,984 crore to the country.