Former Union Minister A Raja’s miscalculated steps for allocation of spectrums in 2008 led the then Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai to come out with his opinion that by ignoring the process of auctioning and offering the most valued telecom resource at the rate of 2001 would cause to the department a loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore. The department did not suffer the loss, but the former CAG was enthusiastic to put forth a presumptive loss, giving fodder to the opposition particularly the BJP. This led to a bitter confrontation between the ruling party and the BJP. Allegations were levelled against A Raja that he wanted to favour some select companies. After the BJP created a storm against the government the allocation to 122 companies was cancelled by the Supreme Court and auction was conducted but the allegations remained sticking to the former minister and others and they were arrested. This became a fertile ground for the BJP which raised hue and cry about scam along with other issues on the eve of the 2014 elections. This became one of the grounds for the BJP to damage the image of the UPA government led by Congress. This scam along with some other factors like BJP’s spending corporate money in astronomical proportions demolished the Congress base and catapulted the BJP to an unexpected absolute majority position in the last Lok Sabha elections. Now the allegations on the basis of which prosecution was launched against A Raja, Kanimozhi and 15 others, failed to stand judicial scrutiny.
Former minister and MP Kanimozhi, daughter of Karunanidhi, the patriarch of DMK and others facing the charges of corruption and money laundering were acquitted of all the charges in the CBI case by the special CBI court judge O P Saini on December 21. The judge in his judgment said, “There is no evidence on the record produced before the court indicating any criminality in the acts allegedly committed by the accused persons…The chargesheet is based mainly on misreading, selective reading, non-reading and out of context reading of the official record”. The 1552-page verdict said prosecution miserably failed to prove any charge. The judge said, “Proceeds of crime is the foundational fact for the offence of money laundering. Since there are no proceeds of crime, there can be no offence”. While giving clean chit to A Raja, the judge came down heavily on the senior officials of the UPA government on the non-clarity of their policy. He said the actions and inactions of these officials created the perception of a scandal while there was none. Kapil Sibal, the then Union Minister, maintained at that time that there was zero loss to the exchequer and with this judgment, his contention has now been vindicated.
A Raja hailed the verdict and said justice prevailed. He maintained that not revising entry fee and not auctioning spectrum ensured cheaper telephony, increased tele-density and contributed to the sector’s overall development. The CBI image got a beating as the verdict has severe criticism for the agency and its functioning. However, the agency said it would go for an appeal to the High Court. Former UPA minister Manish Tewari said the Gujarat poll results would have been different had the 2G verdict come out earlier. Another Congress leader Anand Sharma, deputy leader of the party in Rajya Sabha said the biggest beneficiary of the 2G scam was Narendra Modi who exploited it as the main refrain of his speeches and misled the people on corruption and resultantly became the Prime Minister of the country. The verdict exposed the BJP which used the scam as the main tool to blemish the image of Congress. The judge also negated the charge that the inaction of the former Prime Minister allowed A Raja to go the corrupt way. After the most impressive performance in Gujarat elections, the judicial clean chit in 2G scam is a big boost to the Congress president Rahul Gandhi who is dedicated to giving a new and dynamic image to the Congress for the coming state elections and the Lok Sabha polls in 2019.