2G spectrum case: Some experts hail verdict, others say battle won in Supreme Court lost in lower court
Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan expressed “surprise” over the outcome of the 2G scam trial, while former attorney general Soli Sorabjee refrained from terming the judgement as “good or bad” but was quick to add that it can be challenged in the higher court.india Updated: Dec 22, 2017 09:48 IST
Legal experts expressed differing views on a special court verdict acquitting all accused in the 2G spectrum allocation scam cases, with one of them saying that it was an example that how battles won in the Supreme Court are often lost in lower courts.
Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan expressed “surprise” over the outcome of the trial, while former attorney general Soli Sorabjee refrained from terming the judgement as “good or bad” but was quick to add that it can be challenged in the higher court.
With varying opinions coming on the verdict, one section dubbed the acquittal as “unfortunate” and opined that it would politically raise a serious situation, while another section said that a “bubble was created” which burst due to lack of evidence.
“I am surprised. Have not gone through the verdict yet but this shows how battles won in the Supreme Court are often lost in courts below,” Dhavan told PTI.
Sorabjee said this is not a “final verdict” and can be tested in appeals before higher courts.
“It is only a special court verdict which can be appealed against. The CBI can appeal in the High Court. I have not read the judgement so cannot say if it was good or bad,” Sorabjee, who was the top law officer during the previous NDA regime, told PTI.
However, senior advocates Ajit Kumar Sinha and Dushyant Dave were forthcoming in their views and questioned the prosecution for the debacle.
While Sinha, a former high court judge, termed the outcome as “unfortunate”, Dave said “it shows a botched-up investigation in the matter where the prosecution failed to prove the case” and “this verdict creates serious doubts on the investigating agencies especially premier agency like the CBI”.
“Politically it raises a serious situation in the country. We have to see it in the political spectrum in a long way,” he said.
Sinha was of the opinion that the acquittal in the cases were surprising as the apex court while scrapping the 122 licences for the 2G spectrum had held that due process was not followed when the radio waves were auctioned during the tenure of A Raja as the telecom minister in the first UPA regime.
He also toed the findings of the special court which said the CBI had started its case with “great enthusiasm and ardour” but at the final stage of the trial, the Special Public Prosecutor and the regular CBI prosecutor moved in “two different directions without any coordination”.
“They (the CBI and ED) started on a good note and later it became very very lacklustre and there was no evidence to corroborate nor it was taken with all sincerity and that really led to acquittal of each and every accused and its unfortunate,” he said.
However, differing with Sinha and Dave, senior advocate Vikas Singh and former High Court judge R S Sodhi said prosecution did not have enough material to establish its case.
“There was lack of evidence. It speaks volumes of our judiciary. They had the best special public prosecutor in the matter. There was nothing in the matter. A bubble was created and it has now been burst,” Sodhi said.
Taking a little different take, Singh maintained that scam was only, if at all, with regard to the eligibility being changed from first-come-first-served.
“However, the prosecution did not have enough materials to establish even that and that is why everybody has gone scot-free in this case,” he said.
Further, Singh said that he maintained right from the beginning that this was never a scam.
“This whole decision to give spectrum at those pre- determined prices can never be a scam at all because if the government decides to give infrastructure to people at cheaper rates through these companies, then it can’t be a scam,” he added.