Former telecom minister A Raja was not the "mother lode of conspiracy" and he "cannot be faulted" for misrepresention of facts to Manmohan Singh, a special court said today while acquitting the DMK leader in the 2G spectrum allocation case.
Former telecom minister A Raja was not the “mother lode of conspiracy” and he “cannot be faulted” for misrepresention of facts to then prime minister Manmohan Singh, a special court said today while acquitting the DMK leader in the 2G spectrum allocation case. The court held that Raja’s deposition matched with the official record and appeared to be cogent, truthful and acceptable. It was a matter of great importance that he took a “huge risk” in appearing as a defence witness, giving a good opportunity to the prosecution to “grill him” in detail about the payment of alleged illegal gratification of Rs 200 crore, Special Judge O P Saini said in his verdict. Saini, who “religiously” heard the matter on a daily basis for nearly seven years, said the genesis of the case lAY not so much in the actions of Raja but in the action or inaction of others.
“There is no material on record to show that Raja was mother lode of conspiracy in the instant case. There is also no evidence of his noholdsbarred immersion in any wrongdoing, conspiracy or corruption,” the court said. The judge said it was clear that complete facts were not placed before the then prime minister by his own office for which Raja could not be faulted and senior officials at the PMO had “suppressed the most relevant and controversial part” of Raja’s letter. The CBI had alleged that Raja had misled Singh in his letters on several key issues related to the policy of grant of 2G spectrum licences, including first-come-first-served and the cut-off date.
Regarding the Rs 200 crore transaction, the court said only two general suggestions were put to Raja by the CBI and it was not suggested to him at all that the circuitous route for transfer of money through the four entities was adopted at his instance and the documents were bogus to conceal the payment of illegal gratification for favours shown by him to accused firm Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd. “This means that prosecution has no cogent evidence at all, as also argued by the defence, to link Raja with the transfer of money. “The prosecution introduced the word ‘quid pro quo’ for the first time in the cross-examination of Raja.
In the entire prosecution evidence it was nowhere suggested to any witness that the transfer of Rs 200 crore was an illegal gratification and that the four entities had concealed its identity to give it a colour of regular business transaction,” it said. The judge said that the terse or if “I may say so, NIL crossexamination by the prosecution of Raja indicates that it had no worthwhile evidence against him with which it could nail him” and the nature of his crossexamination indicated “total lack of evidence against him”. The court said there was no merit in the submission of the prosecution that Raja was involved in parking of money in DMK-run Kalaignar TV Pvt Ltd.