In observations, which could put an end to requests made to court by 2G scam accused to have Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as a witness, the Delhi High Court said former telecom minister and accused A Raja "arbitrarily" changed the existing 'first-come-first-serve' policy of 2007.
Justice Ajit Bharihoke, while dismissing the bail application of five corporate honchos accused in the case, said, "Facts prima facie show the complicity of the petitioners in the conspiracy to obtain wrongful gain to them or their companies represented by them by abuse of their office and official position by private secretary and secretary (telecom) in the matter pertaining to issue of UAS Licences and 2G spectrum by arbitrarily changing the existing policy of first-come-first-served.”
Unitech MD Sanjay Chandra's lawyer Ram Jethmalani had told the Delhi HC that the PM had backed the telecom policy under which several companies were given mobile permits. Another accused Shahid Balwa had also told the court that if Raja had mislead the PM, then the latter had to be examined as a witness.
Making a statement in Parliament on February 24, Singh had said by giving telecom licences at astoundingly-low prices, “the government had ensured that cellphones were affordable for the masses. Defending the government's decision to skip an auction for 2G mobile network licences and implementing a first-come-first-serve policy, the Prime Minister had said, “While the policy was sound, the way it was implemented, I think, gave rise to problems.”
The CBI chargesheet had said Raja conspired with DoT officials, Swan and Unitech executives to change the cut off date. Despite publicly announcing the date as October 1, 2007 for applying for mobile permits, Raja changed this to September 25, 2007, resulting in only eight companies being eligible to obtain these mobile permits.