Till the CBI moved the special court on September 26, seeking to add the charge of ‘criminal breach of trust by a public servant’, former telecom minister A Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi, if convicted, would have faced a jail term of only seven years.
But now, with the new charge added and special judge O P Saini’s approval, they could face life sentence if found guilty.
CBI stated that Raja, his former private secretary R K Chandolia and former telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura had a dominion over valuable 2G spectrum in their respective capacities as public servants, and they flouted law to give licences — which made it a case of criminal breach of trust.
Upholding the CBI argument, the judge said in his order framing charges against all accused: “I am prima facie satisfied that accused A Raja and Siddhartha Behura, being public servants, that is, political and administrative heads of the DoT respectively, were having dominion over valuable 2G spectrum, which was disposed of by them in violation of law and which resulted into unlawful gain to the accused companies and receipt of bribe of R200 crore by Raja”.
“Accordingly, charge of conspiracy to commit criminal breach of trust by public servant is also made out against all accused and substantive offence of criminal breach of trust is made out only against Raja and Behura,” the judge said.
Raja and all other accused had opposed the stiff new charge, saying spectrum
was just “electro-magnetic” waves and cannot be termed as property.
The court upheld CBI’s argument that where property is stated in a generic sense, it includes all types of properties, and so a wider definition should be given.
The CBI, on its part, said properties are of different types, “which also include the right to certain things, licence to certain things, copyright and trademark.”