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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

CVC plea, SC cancelling licences, auction: Govt grounds for appeal against 2G verdict

One significant point the government will bank on is the amount the government collected through auction.

Written by Liz Mathew | New Delhi | Updated: December 22, 2017 11:52:01 am
Former telecom minister A Raja after the verdict in New Delhi on Thursday. (Express Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)

Hoping that a higher court will reverse the trial court’s acquittal in the 2G case, the government, officials said, has begun working on its appeal.

Senior ministers said that the CBI special judge’s verdict acquitting former telecom minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and business executives in a case which built the anti-corruption plank for the ruling BJP in the run-up to 2014 Lok Sabha polls has given a “strong weapon” to the Opposition Congress. “They will celebrate it for a few days. But the trial court is not the last court. The sting of Congress will be lost on the day the higher court sends a notice,” said a senior Cabinet minister.

Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has briefed officials and the appeal is expected in a week, sources said.

Read | 2G spectrum case verdict: All acquitted, CBI indicted

In a statement, the CBI said that it will take “necessary legal remedies”. The agency claimed that “the evidence adduced to substantiate the charges by the prosecution has not been appreciated in its proper perspective by the learned CBI court.”

The government’s appeal, sources said, will be based on three key points: One, the 2G spectrum case was on the basis of Central VigilanceCommission’s directive to the CBI to probe alleged irregularities in the spectrum allocation during the UPA regime; two, the Supreme Court had quashed 122 licences finding the process of allocation unreasonable as well as a violation of law and abuse of discretion” and, three, the auction of the spectrum by the UPA and the following NDA government gained the government almost Rs 250,000 crore.

Read the story in Tamil

DMK MP Kanimozhi outside the Patiala House Courts in New Delhi on Thursday. (Express Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)

Also Read | The scam that wasn’t : CAG, BJP need to apologise

Pointing out that the 2008 allocation of licenses were at a flat rate of Rs1658 crore, a minister said: “The first come first pay norm was fiddled with, latecomers were given preferences, post-dated cheques were accepted and we all know what drama happened at the allocation. If the Supreme Court obsevbed that the allocation was against law, how can everyone indulged in it be acquitted?”

Read | Decoding the 2G spectrum verdict: Charge by charge, how case collapsed

One significant point the government will bank on is the amount the government collected through auction. The first auction under the UPA government in November 2012 had gained Rs 9407 crore, Rs 3539 crore in March 2013 and Rs 61,162 crore in February 2014 while the auction in March 2015 under the NDA has got Rs 1,09874 crore and the auction in October 2016 had drawn Rs 65789 crore.

“In the light of the Supreme Court verdict to auction the spectrum, the government has an extraordinary possibility of this (verdict) being reversed in the higher court,” he said.

Politically, the government and the BJP would underline the Congress’s argument that it was under “coalition compulsions.”

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