A plea to make home minister P Chidambaram a co-accused in the 2G scam case was dismissed after half a day of frenzied action outside the Patiala House courts in Delhi and weeks of anticipation in political circles.
"I do not find sufficient ground for proceeding against Chidambaram. The plea is without any merit and is dismissed", special CBI judge OP Saini said in the courtroom, in the presence of Subramanian Swamy, his wife and his lawyers.
The media, which had been crowding the court premises since morning, was made to stay outside, to maintain order, till the judge pronounced his verdict at 1.10pm - deferred twice, once from 10am and then from 12.15pm.
The order comes after successive setbacks for the government as the Supreme Court rapped it for inordinate delay in grant of sanction to prosecute Raja, cancelled 122 2G licences and slammed the process followed to fix the army chief's age.
Swamy said that he'd take his challenge to Supreme Court.
Chidamabaram was finance minister when jailed former telecom minister A Raja gave away telecom licences illegally. Swamy had alleged that Chidambaram was equally culpable and had conspired to make money out of the deal.
The court noted that there was no evidence that Chidambaram had colluded with Raja "to subvert telecom policy and obtain pecuniary advantage for himself".
It said that "anybody and everybody associated with a decision in any degree cannot be roped in as an accused".
In his 64-page judgment, Saini said, "Chidambaram was party to only two decisions, that is, keeping the spectrum prices at 2001 level and dilution of equity by the two companies. These two acts are not per se criminal. In the absence of any other incriminating act on his part, it cannot be said that he was prima facie party to the criminal conspiracy."
It said, "There is no material in record to suggest that Chidambaram was acting with corrupt or illegal motives and was in abuse of his official position while consenting to the two decisions taken with Raja… one may be acting innocently and other may be actuated by criminal intention. Innocuous, inadvertent or innocent acts do not make one party to the conspiracy."
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