2G scam verdict: A Raja, Kanimozhi, all other accused acquitted of graft charges

Former Telecom Minister A Raja at the Patiala House Court after the verdict on December 21. Photograph:( ANI )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Dec 21, 2017, 05.19 AM (IST)

All 17 accused in the 2G scam, including former Telecom Minister A Raja, DMK Member of Parliament Kanimozhi and three companies, have been acquitted of corruption charges.

The other accused acquitted include Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd (STPL) promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka.

Special court judge OP Saini pronounced his verdict as "not guilty" for all accused due to lack of evidence.

The lawyer for the accused quoted the judge as saying that the "prosecution has miserably failed to prove any charge."

"The Court said that the prosecution has miserably failed to prove any charge. Thus, all accused are acquitted," Vijay Aggarwal, lawyer of Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa, Vinod Goenka and others accused in the case said. Also Read: 'My 'zero loss' claim was correct,' says Kapil Sibal
 

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"I would love to thank everyone who stood by me," an elated Kanimozhi said after the verdict.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said after the verdict that the propaganda against the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) had been put to rest.

"The court judgement has to be respected. I'm glad that the court has pronounced that the massive propaganda against UPA was without any foundation," Manmohan Singh said, adding that the "judgement speaks for itself."

The 2G spectrum allocation scam rattled the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government during its second term.

Former telecom minister Kapil Sibal, who had said in 2011 that there was "zero loss" to the exchequer in the 2G scam, said today that he was right all along.

"Today it has been proved that my 'zero loss' claim was correct. Not a single paisa was stolen," he said.

"Vinod Rai (ex-CAG chief) should apologize to the nation as there was no wrongdoing in the case," he added.

The 2007-08 case, as per a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, caused a loss of Rs. 1.76 lakh crore to the state exchequer.

Kapil Sibal also asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to give a clarification in Parliament.

"We are saying that the PM should come to the house and give a clarification, this govt 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," Kapil Sibal said.

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said that the fact that the allegations against the "highest levels" of government were not true had been established today.

"Allegation of a major scam involving the highest levels of Government was never true, was not correct and that has been established today," the former finance minister said.

Reacting to the verdict, finance minister Arun Jaitley said Congress leaders were treating the judgement as "certification that it was an honest policy" whereas it had already been declared a "corrupt and dishonest policy" by the Supreme Court in 2012.

"This was a corrupt and dishonest policy, which has already been upheld by the Supreme Court in 2012," Arun Jaitley said."Congress leaders are treating this judgement as some kind of a badge of honor and a certification that it was an honest policy," he added.

DMK leader MK Stalin called the judgement a "historic verdict".

DMK supporters, who had gathered outside court, began celebrating soon after the judgement.

Senior DMK leader Durai Murugan said all the "conspiracies" hatched against the party had been "blown away".

"Victory begins now. With political motives, this case was put in us. Conspiracies were hatched against us but all have been blown away now," the senior DMK leader told ANI.

In its charge sheet filed in April 2011, the 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.

Former Telecom Minister A Raja was accused of allocating spectrum licenses to telecom operators at much lesser prices in return for bribes instead of allocation through a fair auctioning process. The chargesheet against him also accuses him of misleading the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The former DMK leader has denied the charges and said the decisions were taken keeping Manmohan Singh in the loop.

A Raja was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 2011 following which the trial in the case commenced. He was released on bail nearly a year later.

DMK leader Kanimozhi, daughter of DMK chief M Karunanidhi was accused of accepting kickbacks.The CBI alleges bribes worth Rs 200 crore paid by a telecom company to A Raja was deposited in the account of a television channel partly owned by her. She has denied the accusations against her.

Kanimozhi was arrested in 2011 and released on bail the same year after spending over six months in jail.

Two cases had been filed by the CBI and another one by the Enforcement Directorate. 

(With inputs from agencies)
 

Story highlights

The other accused acquitted include Essar Group promoters Ravi Kant Ruia and Anshuman Ruia and?Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd (STPL) promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka