Nearly six years after 122 2G licences were cancelled by the Supreme Court, a Special Court on Thursday acquitted all accused, including former Telecom Minister Andimuthu Raja and DMK chief M Karunanidhi’s daughter, Kanimozhi, who were named as perpetrators of one of the biggest scams in the history of India. The court said the prosecution had “miserably failed” to prove any charge against any of 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 cut-off date, manipulation of first-come first-served policy...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,” OP Saini said in his 1,552-page judgment. The 2G spectrum scam was jointly investigated by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate. The CBI charge-sheet had alleged a loss of ₹30,984 crore to the exchequer in the allocation of the 122 licences, which were scrapped by the Supreme Court on February 2, 2012. The CBI alleged that A Raja received illegal gratification for favours shown by him to some of the operators that had received the licences.

Dismissing the allegations, the judge said that for “the last about seven years on all working days, summer vacation included, I religiously sat in the open Court from 10 am to 5 pm, awaiting for (sic) someone with some legally admissible evidence in his possession, but all in vain. Not a single soul turned up.”

Pandora’s box The court order could open a Pandora’s box as it raised questions over the functioning of officers at the Department of Telecom (DoT), Finance Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office.

For example, the court said it was not Raja, but Pulok Chatterjee, in consultation with TKA Nair (then top officials at PMO), who had suppressed the most relevant and controversial part of Raja’s letter to the then Prime Minister. “Whatever A Raja intended to do relating to telecom licences was conveyed by him to the Prime Minister in his letter, but the PMO presented only a partial view to the then Prime Minister. The record shows that the facts were misrepresented to the then Prime Minister by the officials of the PMO and not by A Raja.”

Highlighting the working at the Finance Ministry, the court observed that “when the time is appropriate, they (finance branch officials) would keep mum and when things reach a definite stage or generate heat, they would immediately start raising unnecessary objections, creating trouble for others that too without reaching any final conclusion.”

The order also said that most of the mess in the DoT, in the matter of processing of applications and grant of licences was created by the officers. “It is the result of their lack of sense of responsibility and clarity about the way official business is to be conducted. Not only this, most of the officers have exhibited fickle mindedness and timidity by disowning the written official record. They even disowned the record prepared by them and tried to shift the blame to others by making oral statements contrary to official record.” it said.

Political war The court verdict gave ammunition to the Congress, which lost the 2014 Lok Sabha elections after the 2G scam was milked by the then opposition BJP.

“This verdict is both a moral and legal victory for the Congress Party. We will take this issue up in Parliament,” said former Telecom Minister and senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal,