A Special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Thursday acquitted all 19 accused in the 2G spectrum allocation case, which has sent a wave of happiness among the Congress party and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party members.
Pronouncing the scathing judgement, Special CBI judge O.P. Saini said that there was no concrete evidence submitted against the accused.
“There is no evidence on the record produced before the court indicating any criminality in the acts allegedly committed by the accused persons relating to fixation of cutoff date, manipulation of first-come-first-served policy, allocation of spectrum to dual technology applicants, ignoring ineligibility of STPL (Swan Telecom Pvt. Ltd.) and Unitech group companies, nonrevision of entry fee and transfer of Rs 200 crore to Kalaignar TV (P) Limited as illegal gratification,” Justice Saini said.
He further noted that the chargesheet misrepresented the official record and included oral statements of the witnesses that are not acceptable in law.
“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 witnessbox. Lastly, if statements were made orally by the witnesses, the same were contrary to the official record and thus, not acceptable in law”, the Special CBI Judge said.
He continued that many facts recorded in the chargesheet were factually incorrect.
“And, there are many facts recorded in the chargesheet that are factually incorrect, like the Finance Secretary strongly recommending revision of entry fee, deletion of a clause of draft LOI (Letter of Intent) by A. Raja, recommendations of TRAI for revision of entry fee etcetera“, Justice Saini said.
While ordering acquittal of the accused, the Special CBI judge also termed the chargesheet as a “well-choreographed charge sheet”.
“The end result of the above discussion is that, I have absolutely no hesitation in holding that the prosecution has miserably failed to prove any charge against any of the accused, made in its well-choreographed charge sheet,” Justice Saini said.
DMK leader and former telecom minister A Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi are prominent persons who were acquitted by the court.
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 alleged 2G scam was among the major corruption scandals that came to light during the second term of the UPA government headed by Manmohan Singh.
It relates to the granting of 2G spectrum licence allocations in 2007-08, which caused, according to a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, a loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the exchequer. A Raja was then telecom minister in the UPA government as the DMK was a coalition partner in Manmohan Singh led government. The 2G trial began in 2011.