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Published On: Thu, Dec 21st, 2017

2G scam verdict: CBI, ED to appeal against acquittal of all accused

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2g-spectrum-scam-court-acquits-both-a-raja-and-kanimozhiNEW DELHI : A special court in New Delhi has acquitted all the accused in the 2G scam. The trial in 2G spectrum scam started six years ago in 2011 after the court had framed charges against 17 accused in the CBI’s case for the offences which entails punishment ranging from six months in life imprisonment.

One of the cases in which judgement is likely to be delivered tomorrow involves 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.
The scam, suspected to cause the exchequer a loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore, was one of the initial blows to the credibility of the UPA government.  At the time of when the first murmurs about the scam were heard 10 years back, the Opposition demanded an investigation in the matter after the then Comptroller General of India Vinod Rai in a report in 2010, stated the tune of the loss.

What is 2G Scam?

After the investigation in the case, the CBI filed a staggering 80,000-page chargesheet, naming 17 persons. The tune of the scam is so big that Time Magazine had called it the second biggest abuse of power after US President Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal.

The then Telecom Minister A Raja became the face of the scam, as he was accused of bending the rules to favour a select group of telcos. Some of the other prominent figures involved in the case were DMK chief Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi, the then telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, and Raja’s private secretary RK Chandolia.
While Raja denied that he accepted any kickbacks in return for the favours he bestowed upon the group of telcos, the Supreme Court had earlier agreed that. Special judge O.P. Saini’s citing the inability of the prosecution to prove the charges, is despite a Supreme Court monitored investigation ordered in “larger public interest”on the basis of a request made by the previous Manmohan Singh Government.
The apex court had, on no less than three occasions in its order dated September 3, 2013, recorded that it undertook to keep an eagle eye on the CBI probe after the Central government and the investigating agency requested it to do so “having regard to the larger public interest involved and the necessity of a proper investigation and also with the ultimate object of unearthing the crime”.
The court had also agreed, on the basis of Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) and Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) reports, that the allegations against the accused prima facie warranted its intervention to do justice. It had held that Article 21 of the Constitution demanded a “through” investigation and speedy trial.
“We are, prima facie, satisfied that the allegations contained in the writ petition and the affidavits filed before this Court, which are supported not only by the documents produced by them, but also the report of the Central Vigilance Commission, which was forwarded to the Director, CBI, on October 12, 2009 and the findings recorded by the CAG in the Performance Audit Report, need a thorough and impartial investigation,” the Supreme Court had recorded in its order.
The court had stepped in following writ petitions filed by Subramanian Swamy and Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) for an impartial investigation. The court had backed CAG Vinod Rai’s work as the “most important officer under the Constitution of India and his duty, being the guardian of the public purse, is to see that not a farthing of it is spent without the authority of Parliament”.
In an order on December 16, 2010, the apex court noted that the CAG had prima facie found “serious irregularities in the grant of licences to 122 applicants” leading to a “huge loss to the public exchequer running into several thousand crores”. The court had recorded that its decision to intervene was based on a “large number of documents”, which included the CAG report pegging the “wrongful loss to the government to the tune of ₹1.76 lakh crore”.

The Supreme Court in 2012 went on to cancel all 122 licences allotted to various entities. Advocate Prashant Bhushan, who argued for the CPIL, said: “This acquittal is totally wrong. There was considerable evidence against the accused at several levels. There was considerable evidence of fixing, considerable evidence of companies forming benami companies and evidence of consideration being passed like shares, etc.”

Describing the “public interest” involved in the 2G cases, the Supreme Court had observed that “when persons involved in crime wield political power and influence, the possibility of putting pressure on the investigating agency, which is no more independent in our country, is much more. Common people will be left with the feeling that they can get away with any crime which tarnish the image not only of the investigating agency but judicial system as well”.
Meanwhile,the CBI on Thursday said it would file an appeal against the 2G scam case verdict by a special court, which acquitted all the 16 accused rejecting the case presented by the agency. The CBI will be taking necessary legal remedies in the matter,” CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal said. Asked whether an appeal would be filed in the Delhi High Court challenging the verdict, the spokesperson replied in the affirmative.
Former telecom minister A Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi were on Thursday acquitted by the special court in the 2G spectrum scam case. Fifteen other accused in the case and three companies were also acquitted. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has also decided to appeal against the judgement of the special court that acquitted 19 people in the 2G spectrum allocation money laundering case. ED officials said the agency would  knock on the doors of the high court armed with their evidence and investigation.
The officials said it has to be seen if the ED case has been rejected by the court merely because the predicate offense probe of the CBI has been rejected or there were other reasons to do so.  In its charge sheet, the ED also named DMK supremo M Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal as an accused in the case in which it had alleged that ? 200 crore was paid by Swan Telecom (P) Ltd (STPL) promoters to DMK-run Kalaignar TV.
Besides Kalaignar TV, the other companies accused in the case were STPL (now Etisalat DB Telecom (P) Ltd), Kusegaon Realty (P) Ltd, Cineyug Media & Entertainment (P) Ltd, Dynamix Realty, Eversmile Construction Company (P) Ltd, Conwood Construction & Developers (P) Ltd, DB Realty Ltd and Mystical Construction (P) Ltd (earlier known as Nihar Constructions (P) Ltd).(With Agency Inputs ).

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