Former telecom minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and all other accused were today acquitted in the politically-sensitive 2G spectrum allocation scam cases by a special court which held that the prosecution “miserably failed” to prove the charges. The fifteen other accused allowed to walk free include 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 CBI had alleged that there was a loss of Rs 30,984 crore to the exchequer in allocation of licences for the 2G spectrum which were scrapped by the top court on February 2, 2012. Raja and Kanimozhi, daughter of DMK supremo M Karunanidhi, were also let off in another case lodged by the Enforcement Directorate under the money laundering law arising out of the 2G scam.
In its charge sheet, the ED had also named DMK supremo M Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal as an accused in the case in which it had alleged that Rs 200 crore was paid by Swan Telecom (P) Ltd (STPL) promoters to DMK-run Kalaignar TV.
Along with them, 16 others including Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka of STPL, Asif Balwa and Rajiv Aggarwal of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd, film producer Karim Morani, P Amirtham and Sharad Kumar, Director of Kalaignar TV were also acquitted in the money laundering case.
Special CBI Judge O P Saini, whose court came into being on March 14, 2011 for hearing 2G cases exclusively, also acquitted Essar Group promoters Ravi Kant Ruia and Anshuman Ruia and six others in a separate case arising out of the 2G scam probe. Besides Ruias, Loop Telecom Promoters I P Khaitan and Kiran Khaitan and Vikash Saraf, one of the Essar Group Directors, Loop Telecom Ltd, Loop Mobile (India) Ltd and Essar Teleholdings Ltd were also acquitted.
In the packed courtroom, the judge said, “I have absolutely no hesitation in holding that prosecution has miserably failed to prove any of the charges against any of the accused.” The three cases decided today by the special court had total of 35 accused including several companies.
The first case, prosecuted by CBI, had 17 accused, while the second matter, pursued by ED, had 19 undertrials. The third one had eight accused including Essar promoters. The verdict was hailed by all accused including Raja and Kanimozhi who were greeted with cheers from party colleagues present in court premises here. [ Justice delivered, says DMK leader Kanimozhi on 2G verdict ]
Immediately after the pronouncement of the verdict, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, who was one of the PIL petitioners on which the Supreme Court had ordered CBI probe into the scam, said, the government should file appeals in the Delhi High Court against the acquittals of the accused. CBI, on its part, said “We are yet to receive complete judgement. We will study it, take legal opinion and decide future action.” Enforcement Directorate sources said that it will appeal against the special court verdict on 2G spectrum allocation.
Immediately after the verdict, Congress trained guns at former Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai who, in the CAG report, had said that the grant of 122 2G licenses had caused a loss of whopping Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the state exchequer. Party spokesperson Tom Vaddakan told TV channels that the 2G verdict will remain a “black mark” in the history of CAG and the then CAG should be prosecuted.
Initially, the CBI lodged an FIR on October 21, 2009 against unknown officers of DoT, unknown private persons and firms and others and later the apex court took up the matter leading to resignation of Raja and his subsequent arrest. The alleged scam had then rocked the UPA government. In its charge sheet filed in April 2011 against Raja and others, the CBI had alleged that there was a loss of Rs 30,984 crore to the exchequer in allocation of licences for the 2G spectrum which were scrapped by the top court on February 2, 2012.
Raja, Kanimozhi and 15 others were tried under provisions of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act dealing with offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery, using as genuine fake documents, abusing official position, criminal misconduct by public servant and taking bribe.
The second case was lodged by the Enforcement Directorate with regard to alleged laundering of Rs 200 crore bribe money against Raja, Kanimozhi and 17 others.
READ : Kanimozhi, four other accused in 2G spectrum case get bail ]
Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, DMK supremo M Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal and seven individuals and nine companies also faced trial in the money laundering case. The trial in the third case, arising out of the 2G scam probe, was conducted against Essar promoters -- Ravi Kant Ruia and Anshuman Ruia -- and six others. The CBI had named them in its charge sheet on December 12, 2011, alleging they had cheated the Department of Telecommunication by using Loop Telecom as a “front” to secure 2G licences in 2008.
ALSO READ : 2G blow to Govt as apex court cancels 122 licences
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