Even as the order of the special court gave relief to P Chidambaram, BJP continued its offensive, insisting that it was not the end of the story and that there were higher courts to appeal to.
The party had focused its attention on the potential culpability of Chidambaram and, despite meeting a stonewall from the lower court, took heart from the fact that the apex court’s cancellation of 2G licences had given it some political ammunition.
“This judgment has come from the lower court. There is a hierarchy of courts and there are two higher courts. There are several instances where upper courts have overturned the verdict of the lower court,” BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
“This verdict will not change the corrupt image of the government or the intensity of our campaign...The issue of political accountability of Chidambaram remains alive...We will continue to raise the matter of his accountability before the nation.” Senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh also insisted there was no “disappointment” as it was no end to the story.
CPI(M) leader Nilotpal Basu said a protracted battle would now continue against the government, adding the government’s own policy paper had said the then finance minister was jointly responsible for the pricing of spectrum.
Saying there was “overwhelming evidence” that Chidambaram and the then telecom minister A Raja had consulted each other on the issue, he said, “there is no evidence to show that the former disagreed or tried to stop” the move to go for a first-come, first-served policy on granting spectrum licences. CPI’s D Raja said his party would examine the verdict.
While telecom minister Kapil Sibal said that the Opposition should apologise to the nation, Ravi Shankar Prasad retorted the government should apologise for the “loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore”.