Former telecom minister A Raja, Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi and 15 other accused have been acquitted in the 2G spectrum case on Thursday. The verdict was pronounced by the special CBI court in New Delhi. It was delivered on the cases lodged by CBI and Enforcement Directorate against A Raja, Kanimozhi and others.
The trial in 2G spectrum case, which cost the-then UPA government heavily, began in 2011 after the court had framed charges against 17 accused in the CBI’s case. All the accused in these cases have denied the allegations levelled against them by the CBI and the ED.
In October 2011, the court had framed charges against them under various 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.
In its chargesheet filed in April 2011 against Raja and others, CBI had alleged that there was a loss of Rs 30,984 crore to the exchequer in allocation of 122 licences for 2G spectrum which were scrapped by the Supreme Court on February 2, 2012.
2G spectrum allocation case HIGHLIGHTS
08.15 pm: The Congress should not be elated over the 2G scam verdict as the matter of prosecuting “criminal conspirators is still open,” Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar said. He said he was not “disappointed” with the acquittal of former Telecom minister A Raja and DMK Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi. “Also Congress should not be so much elated, because the matter of prosecuting criminal conspirators is still open as the investigating agencies, CBI and ED, have already decided to move courts,” the MP said.
08.00 pm: Why are they (Congress) chest thumping over temporary relief? The CBI is going to file a review petition. The list of their corruption cases is so long that I think it is too immature for them to celebrate, says BJP leader Sudhanshu Trivedi
07.40 pm: Former Union minister Prithviraj Chavan said a “negative perception” created by the BJP on the issue had hugely hurt the Congress’ performance in the 2014 elections. “The BJP created a huge negative public perception against the Congress on 2G issue and spread bogus allegations without proof,” Chavan said.
07.20 pm: Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group issued a very short statement that it “welcomes court verdict”.
07.00 pm: Unitech’s Sanjay Chandra, who is in jail on orders of the Supreme Court for failure to allocate flats to owners, said his companies continue to pay the price for a “fraudulently” foisted case.
06.30 pm: Enforcement Directorate (ED) to move an appeal against the judgement of the Special CBI Court
06.15 pm: Former Telecom minister A Raja, after his acquittal, issued a statement saying his faith in the country’s justice system has been validated after the judgment. In the statement Raja said his actions, when he was a telecom minister, was to benefit the masses, to make wireless service more economical and widely available. He added that even he had brought about a revolution in the telecom sector the beneficial results of which have been enjoyed by the people.
06.00 pm: Former High Court judge R S Sodhi said prosecution did not have enough material to establish its case. “There was lack of evidence. It speaks volumes of our judiciary. They had the best special public prosecutor in the matter. There was nothing in the matter. A bubble was created and it has now been burst,” Sodhi said.
05.50 pm: Senior advocate Vikas Singh maintained that scam was only, if at all, with regard to the eligibility being changed from first come first served. “However, the prosecution did not have enough materials to establish even that and that is why everybody has gone scot-free in this case,” he said.
05.45 pm: Dushyant Dave said “it shows a botched-up investigation in the matter where the prosecution failed to prove the case” and “this verdict creates serious doubts on the investigating agencies especially premier agency like the CBI.”
05.35 pm: Senior advocate Ajit Kumar Sinha termed the outcome as “unfortunate”. “Politically it raises a serious situation in the country. We have to see it in the political spectrum in a long way. They (the CBI and ED) started on a good note and later it became very very lacklustre and there was no evidence to corroborate nor it was taken with all sincerity and that really led to acquittal of each and every accused and its unfortunate,” he said.
05.20 pm: We don’t want to comment on Court’s verdict, but it was the SC which had said that the whole process was arbitrary and power corridors were taking decisions,so I think nothing more needs to be said, says Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha
05.10 pm: Former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee said he cannot term the judgement as “good or bad” without reading it but was quick to add that “this is not a final verdict” and can be tested in appeals before higher courts. “It is only a special court verdict which can be appealed against. The CBI can appeal in the High Court. I have not read the judgement so cannot say if it was good or bad,” said Sorabjee.
05.00 pm: Subramanian Swamy is in the habit of making wild and false allegations. I had appeared for some of these people at the time of grant of bail in SC, in 2012. After, I became AG, I had nothing to do with the case. To make personal allegations is meaningless, says Former AG Mukul Rohatgi
— ANI (@ANI) December 21, 2017
03.50 pm: It has been derailed, but it can be put back on track again provided we have honest law officers and lawyers who don’t do ‘chamchagiri’ of ministers, says Swamy
03.34 pm: This is not a setback. It is not the final judgement, says Swamy
03.40 pm: This is not a setback at all, its an aberration as the law officers were not serious on fighting against corruption. So I hope the PM takes lesson from this. We must now fight corruption on war footing, says Swamy
03.35 pm: Former AG Mukul Rohatgi has welcomed this verdict, I had written to PM opposing his appointment as AG. Rohatgi had appeared for some of accused companies, says Swamy
03.34 pm: Judge says earlier there was a lot of enthusiasm, but later it became worse. Judge also said counsels were lackadaisical. This is a big condemnation of the Govt’s controlling of the case, says Swamy
03.35 pm: BJP MP Subramanian Swamy addresses the media in Delhi post the verdict. Swamy said, “Today’s judgment is a very bad judgement, this must be appealed in higher court,” said Swamy.
03.30 pm: Congress is looking for excuses to cover up their fault. What does it have to say about the auctions which were done then? If Congress thinks this is a certificate to their corruption, then congratulations to them, says Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan
03.15 pm: We are thankful to the Hon’ble Court for the judgement since it vindicates our stated position, and the Hon’ble Court has accepted it, says Essar Group
03.00 pm: CBI will appeal against special court verdict in 2G case in Delhi High Court, says agency spokesperson Abhishek Dayal.
2.40 pm: 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 said.
2.00 pm: “I have been saying from day one that there was no loss and I have been vindicated today. In fact it is Vinod Rai who must apologise to the nation,” Congress leader Kapil Sibal said.
1.41 pm: Shares of companies linked to the 2G spectrum scam case surged up to 20 per cent on Thursday after a special court acquitted all the accused.
1.38 pm: Leader of the Opposition and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad sought an explanation from Modi for the “false propaganda” on the 2G scam to come to power in 2014.
1.27 pm: The acquittal of all accused led also led to questions in the Rajya Sabha. The Opposition Congress disrupting proceedings demanding an explanation from PM Narendra Modi.
1.25 pm: Unitech MD Sanjay Chandra said there was no wrong doing on his part but his company had to pay the price for the case foisted on him. He too was acquitted today.
1.20 pm: Enforcement Directorate sources said that it will appeal against the special court verdict on 2G spectrum allocation.
1.10 pm: 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.
1.00 pm: Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala blames BJP for the factually incorrect CAG report.
“Vinod Rai ko istemal kar ke jhuthi report likhwai BJP ne. Modi ji ab jawabdehi se bach nahi sakte. Desh aur sadan ko jawab dena padega (BJP used Vinod Rai for a fabricated report. PM Modi cannot evade questions. He must ),” he said. Former Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai had said in the CAG report that the grant of 122 2G licenses had caused a loss of whopping Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the state exchequer.
12.53 pm: Congress 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.
12.45 pm: Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi reacted to the 2G case verdict on Thursday. “Prosecution’s main argument was on clause 8, it is a civil issue.It was never an issue of criminality, this is what court also held,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.
12.40 pm: “We are very happy that justice has prevailed. It is a big day for the DMK family. It is an answer to all the blames and the problems we faced,” Kanimozhi said after her acquittal. She had spent six months in prison for the case.
12.35 pm: “The fact that the policy caused loss is clear form the fact that the subsequent auctions got a much higher price. I am sure that the investigative agencies will have a close look at it (the judgement and acquittal of accused) and decide what has to be done,” Jaitley added. Read what he said here.
12.25 pm: “Each and every case of spectrum allocation was quashed by Supreme Court in 2012 as arbitrary and unfair, the policy was quashed as unfair and intended to cause loss to Government of India and the government was directed to have a fresh policy by which an auction would take place,” Jaitley said. “The fact that the policy caused loss is clear form the fact that the subsequent auctions got a much higher price.”
12.20 pm: “I wish to comment on the political aspects of this case. The Congress party leaders are treating this judgment as some kind of badge of honour and certification that the 2G allocation policy was an honest policy,” Jaitley said to reporters.
12.16 pm: Reacting on the 2G spectrum case verdict, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said: “This was a corrupt and dishonest policy, which has already been upheld by the Supreme Court in 2012.”
12.15 pm: “We are saying that the PM should come to the house and give a clarification, this government was formed on the basis that UPA was embroiled in 2G and other scams, but now it has been proved that it was just a scam of lies by the opposition,” Sibal told ANI.
12.10 pm: “There is no material on record to show that A Raja was mother lode of conspiracy in the instant case. There is also no evidence of his no holds barred immersion in any wrongdoing, conspiracy or corruption,” CBI judge Saini said. Read what Saini said here.
12.05 pm: Former prime minister Manmohan Singh, whose government was criticised heavily for the scam, said the judgment speaks for itself. “I don’t want to boast anything. The court’s judgment has to be respected. I am glad the court has pronounced unambiguously that all this massive propaganda that was being done against the UPA was without any foundation,” he said to reporters after the verdict. Read more here.
11.54 am: I may add that many facts recorded in the chargesheet are factually incorrect, like Finance Secretary strongly recommending revision of entry fee, deletion of a clause of draft LOI by A. Raja,” Saini said.
11.52 am: “The chargesheet is based on some oral statements made by the witnesses during investigation, which the witnesses have not owned up in the witness box,” he added.
11.47 am: “The chargesheet of the instant case is based mainly on misreading, selective reading, nonreading and out of context reading of the official record,” Special Judge OP Saini said.
11.44 am: All acquitted in the case will have to furnish a bail bond of Rs 5 lakh each. This is done to ensure their presence in a higher appellate court if the verdict is challenged, reports ANI. “We’re relieved of the huge tension we had. What kept us going was that we knew all along that Law of the land will be upheld. We knew that if there will be a fair trial it will give us the justice,” Hussain Balwa, brother of Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa, told ANI.
11.40 am: Meanwhile, the CBI has said they are waiting for copy of the judgement. “We will take legal opinion on it after that,” CBI was quoted as saying by ANI.
11.34 am: “If the Government has concrete evidence, then they should take the matter to a higher court,” Anna Hazare said.
11.33 am: The court was not able to read the entire judgment. That is expected at a later time.
11.24 am: BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, on whose PIL CBI probe was ordered in 2G case, says government should appeal in high court against acquittals.
11.22 am: DMK working president MK Stalin said the 2G spectrum controversy was “a conspiracy to destroy the party.” “I would like to tell you (media), you made this (2G case) so big to taint DMK. Now, it has been proved that we haven’t done any mistake. So now do justice, take this judgement to people,” Stalin said. Read here.
11.14 am: Congress leader Kapil Sibal also criticised the-then CAG for the improper investigation. “Telecom sector in dire straits today bacause of Vinod Rai,” he said on Thursday. “Aaj meri baat siddh ho gayi, koi corruption nahi, koi loss nahi. Agar scam hai to jhooth ka scam hai, vipaksh aur Vinod Rai ke jhooth ka. Vinod Rai ko desh ke saamne maafi maangni chahiye (There hasn’t been any loss or corruption. The only scam was that of a lie. A lie propagated by the Opposition and Vinod Rai. Rai should apologise in front of the country),” he said.
11.12 am: Essar Group promoters Ravi Kant Ruia and Anshuman Ruia also acquitted in the case along with Loop Telecom promoters I P Khaitan and Kiran Khaitan and four others.
11.10 am: “Victory begins now. Conspiracies were hatched against us but all have been blown away now,” senior DMK Leader Durai Murugan told ANI.
11.09 am: “I have absolutely no hesitation in holding that prosecution has miserably failed to prove any charge against any accused,” CBI Judge O P Saini said on Thursday, reported PTI.
11.07 am: Court acquits 17 accused, including Raja and Kanimozhi in the Enforcement Directorate’s money laundering case. DMK supporters are celebrating outside Patiala House Court after the judgment.
11.05 am: “One thing is clear that the allegations of a major scam involving highest levels of government was not true or correct,” former finance minister P Chidambaram said on Thursday following the verdict on the 2G spectrum scam case. Read what he said here.
11.03 am: “The Court said that the prosecution has miserably failed to prove any of its charge. Thus all accused are acquitted,” Vijay Aggarwal, Lawyer of Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa, Vinod Goenka and others told news agency ANI.
11.00 am: A visibly elated Kanimozhi after the verdict. “I would love to thank everyone who stood by me,” the Rajya Sabha MP told reporters outside the court.
10.50 am: Former Telecom minister A Raja and Kanimozhi acquitted in the 2G spectrum scam case.
10.40 am: Compared with how spectrum is allocated to companies after auctioning it today, under A Raja, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) sold licences to operate 2G services along with spectrum deemed necessary to deploy these services. Bundling the spectrum with the licences and selling this on a first-come-first-served basis resulted in the allocation of airwaves at a much lower price than the market would have dictated — Rs 1,76,000 crore — as estimated by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India.
10.30 am: Security has been tightened at the court complex ahead of the 2G spectrum scam case verdict.
10.20 am: Kalaignar TV’s Sharad Kumar is also present at the court. Dynamix Realty Ltd, a company of the DB Group, allegedly paid Rs 200 crore through banking channels as bribe to Kalaignar TV, where Kumar was MD and CEO, and DMK Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi was a key stakeholder.
10.15 am: Till now, 154 witnesses have recorded their statements which include Anil Ambani, Tina Ambani, corporate lobbyist Niira Radia and many more. The statements of the witnesses amass over 4,400 pages.
10.10 am: In case you are just joining us, the 2G spectrum scam 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, loss of Rs. 1.76 lakh crore to the Exchequer. The licenses were scrapped by the Supreme Court in 2012.
10.oo am: Read the story on ieTamil here.
9.55 am: The cancellation of telecom licences by the Supreme Court in 2012 in the 2G case prompted the key stakeholders — the government and telecom operators — to revamp the way the telecom sector functioned in India, especially how airwaves were offered to operators. Read more here.
9.50 am: Through the trial, Raja stated that every decision he took was in the public interest — he introduced new players, increased teledensity and brought down tariffs. There was no personal benefit to him, he claimed. Kanimozhi has been accused of being involved in “parking” of the alleged illegal gratification of Rs 200 crore in Kalaignar TV. However, Kanimozhi argued that she was a director of Kalaignar TV for only two weeks, from June 6 to June 20, 2007. Read more here.
9.40 am: Kanimozhi, daughter of DMK chief M Karunanidhi, and A Raja arrive at Patiala House Court.
9.30 am: Former Minister A Raja leaves for Patiala House Court from his residence. The court had earlier passed an order that all the accused were to be present for the judgment.
9.15 am: The 2G spectrum allocation scam rocked the UPA II government. Then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s image was battered in the ensuing storm. In February 2011, Singh said that “coalition compulsions” had forced him to make compromises. Read more here.
9:00 am: In the first case filed by the CBI, Raja and Kanimozhi are facing trial along with 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.
8:55 am: One of the cases, for which verdict is likely to be delivered today, includes Essar Group promoters Ravi Kant Ruia and Anshuman Ruia, Loop Telecom promoters Kiran Khaitan, her husband I P Khaitan and Essar Group Director (Strategy and Planning) Vikash Saraf as accused.
8:50 am: All accused — including Raja and Kanimozhi — are likely to be present in the court today as per the directives. The punishments in the offences against the accused can range from six months in life imprisonment.
8:45 am: Special CBI judge O P Saini is slated to pronounce the judgments in separate cases lodged by the CBI and the ED in the scam.
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