2G spectrum scam: CBI Special court acquits Kanimozhi, A Raja, other accused
Kapil Sibal described the verdict as ‘a moral victory’ for Congress
A special CBI court on Thursday acquitted former Telecom Minister A Raja, DMK chief M Karunanidhi's daughter M Kanimozhi and other accused in 2G spectrum allocation scam cases which rocked the nation in 2011. Announcing the order, Special CBI judge OP Saini said the prosecution had failed to prove any of its charge beyond reasonable doubt. “Thus all the accused stand acquitted,” he said. The court also acquitted all the accused of corruption charges in the Essar Group Loop Telecom case.
The case relates to the alleged low-market auction of airwaves of 2G spectrum to telecom companies in 2008. In a report, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had held that the state exchequer suffered a loss of Rs 1,76,379 crore (USD 28 billion) by allocating 2G spectrum licences at throwaway prices. However, the CBI in its chargesheet put the losses at Rs 31,000 crore.
The CBI had charged Raja, Kanimozhi, then Telecom Secretary Siddhartha Behura, Raja’s former private secretary RK Chandolia, Unitech Wireless Managing Director Sanjay Chandra, Swan Telecom director and DB Realty MD Vinod Goenka, and Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group’s (R-ADAG) Gautam Doshi, Hari Nair and Surendra Pipara, Swan telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt. Ltd. Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, Bollywood producer Karim Morani and Kalaignar TV director Sharad Kumar in the case.
The court also acquitted all the accused of corruption charges in the Essar Group Loop Telecom case
All the accused were present at the Patiala House courtroom when the verdict was announced. The court directed all persons acquitted in the case to furnish a bail bond of Rs 5 lakh each to ensure their presence in a higher appellate court should the verdict be challenged in the future.
Describing the verdict as ‘a moral victory’ for the Congress, senior party leader and former Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal on Thursday said former CAG Vinod Rai’s presumptive loss theory had been proven wrong. “This is a moral victory for us, our stand has been vindicated. Vinod Rai’s presumptive loss theory has been proven wrong,” Sibal, who succeeded Raja as Telecom Minister, told reporters here after the special CBI court acquitted all the accused in the 2G case.
Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi, on the other hand, said, “Will BJP now apologise to the nation for stalling Parliament for years, slowing down India’s growth story, levelling baseless accusations against the then government for BJP’s hunger to be in power at any cost? Shame on their power-hungry politics. (sic)”
Meanwhile, Enforcement Directorate Director (ED) Karnal Singh said the agency would appeal against the verdict, adding that all the evidence adduced by the ED were not appreciated by the court.