Former Telecom Minister and DMK leader A Raja has been acquitted in Rs 1.76 trillion 2G Scam case. The other 16 accused including DMK leader Kanimozhi and three companies have also been acquitted in the case. The single-line verdict was announced by a special court in Delhi. The Special CBI judge OP Saini pronounced the much-awaited verdict in separate cases lodged by the CBI and the ED. The trial in 2G spectrum scam, which rocked the erstwhile Manmohan Singh-led UPA government, started six years ago in 2011. The court had framed charges against 17 accused in the CBI case for the offences which entailed punishment ranging from six months to life imprisonment.
Reacting to the verdict, Congress leader Kapil Sibal termed 2G a scam by “former CAG Vinod Rai”. Along with Raja and Kanimozhi, former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, Raja’s former private secretary R K Chandolia, Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra and three top executives of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (RADAG) — Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair. Kalaignar TV director Sharad Kumar, Directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, and Bollywood producer Karim Morani are also accused in it. Besides them, three telecom firms — Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd (STPL), Reliance Telecom Ltd and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd — are also accused in the case.
In October 2011, the court framed charges against the accused under various section of IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act. The accused were booked for offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery, using as genuine fake documents, abusing official position, criminal misconduct by public servant and taking bribe.
ED probe and charges
– Later, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had filed a charge sheet against Raja, Kanimozhi and others for alleged offence of money laundering.
– The ED charge sheet was filed in April 2014. The ED listed the names of A Raja, Kanimozhi, Shahid Balwa, Rajiv Aggarwal, Karim Morani, Vinod Goenka, Asif Balwa P Amirtham and Sharad Kumar in connection with the case. It also named DMK supremo M Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal as an accused in the case in which it had alleged that Rs 200 crore was paid by STPL promoters to DMK-run Kalaignar TV.
– ED’s final report named 10 individuals and nine companies as accused. All the accused were listed in the charge sheet for the offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
– Companies listed for the scam: Kalaignar TV, 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) were the companies listed in the case.
The CBI case and probe
– CBI filed its charge sheet filed in April 2011 against Raja and others. The central probe agency alleged that there was a loss of Rs 30,984 crore to the exchequer in allocation of 122 licences for 2G spectrum (later scrapped by the Supreme Court on February 2, 2012).
– In the case involving promoters of Essar Group, Loop Telecom and Saraf, three companies — Loop Telecom Ltd, Loop Mobile India Ltd and Essar Tele Holding Ltd (ETHL) — were also named by the CBI in its charge sheet.
– The CBI in its charge sheet alleged that the accused had cheated the Department of Telecommunication by using Loop Telecom as a “front” to secure 2G licences in 2008.