P Chidambaram’s decision not to revise the price of 2G spectrum in 2008 was not illegal as the competent authority is “always at liberty” to do so,a Delhi court today said while dismissing the plea to prosecute the Home Minister for his alleged role in the 2G spectrum scam.
Special CBI Judge O P Saini said Chidambaram,being the then Finance Minister,had agreed with former Telecom Minister A Raja not to revise the entry fee or spectrum
charges but it was not violative of any law.
“Non-revision of prices is not an illegal act by itself
The competent authority is always at liberty to decide in its discretion not to revise the prices or fee for any goods or services,” the court said.
It rejected contentions of Janata Party Chief Subramanian Swamy,who had sought prosecution of Chidambaram in the case,saying even the dilution of equity by companies to foreign-based firms were not prohibited at the relevant time.
“The same entry fee/spectrum charges continued even after 2007-08. Same is the case with dilution of equity by a company. It is not per se illegal nor was it prohibited at the relevant time. However,such acts may acquire criminal colour/overtones when done with criminal intent,” the judge said.
The court said there was no evidence to infer that Chidambaram had played any role in subversion of the process of issuance of Letters of Intent (LoIs) and even in allocation of spectrum during the tenure of Raja as Telecom Minister.
“A bare perusal of the allegations and the evidence,led in support thereof,reveals that neither are there any allegations nor is evidence against P Chidambaram to the effect that he played any role in the subversion of the process of issuance of letters of intent (LoI),UAS Licences and allocation of spectrum in the years 2007-08,” it said.
The special judge,in his 64-page order,said subversion of the processes,including issuance of LoIs,violation of first-come first-served policy,arbitrary fixation of cut-off date,were allegedly done by the officials of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT),Ministry of Information and Broadcasting,Government of India and the private persons.
“The subversion of the process of issuance of letters of intent,UAS Licences and allocation of spectrum included arbitrary fixation of the cut-off date,filing and procuring of applications for UAS Licences on behalf of ineligible companies,violation of first-come first-served policy in the issuance of LOIs,UAS Licences and allocation of spectrum and payment and receipt of bribe.
“All these incriminating acts were allegedly done by the Minister/ officials of Department of Telecommunications,Ministry of Information and Broadcasting,Government of India and by private persons,” it said.