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2G case judgement: A Raja, Kanimozhi acquitted; here’s what the case is all about

A CBI special court on Friday acquitted all the accused in the 2G spectrum case, including former telecom minister A Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi. Here’s a primer on the case and the verdict

india Updated: Dec 21, 2017 21:08 IST
Ashok Bagriya
Ashok Bagriya
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
2G spectrum case,2G scam verdict,A Raja
Two of the accused in the 2G spectrum case - DMK leader Kanimozhi and former telecom minister A Raja. (PTI File Photo)

A special court in Delhi on Thursday pronounced the verdict in the 2G spectrum allocation case, acquitting former telecom minister A Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi and al lother accused nearly seven years after the first arrest was made by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 2011.

The 2G spectrum case is not only important due to the Rs 1,76,000 crore notional loss it caused to the public exchequer but also for the high-profile people whp were accused of wrongdoing, including a former cabinet minister, bureaucrats, lawmakers and businessmen.

Here is quick look at the case:

The 2G spectrum case is basically a combination of three cases -- two registered by the CBI and one by the Enforcement Directorate.

The first case concerns prosecution launched by the CBI against former Union telecom minister A Raja and others for criminal conspiracy and misuse of official position by public servants. The second CBI case is the Essar-Loop case against Essar and its promoters.

The third is a Rs 200 crore prevention of money laundering case registered by the ED against Raja and other individuals and companies.

The main charges:

# A Raja, along with Sidharath Behura, RK Chandolia, conspired to give benefits to private accused persons in the issuance of letters of intent, unified access services licences (UASL) and spectrum by the Department of Telecom.

# A Raja ensured there would be a cut-off date on the receipt and processing of the UASL applications, so that the system can be manipulated to benefit favoured few

# The first come first serve policy was changed to a first compliance first serve one. The change was not disclosed to the public but was informed only to a favoured few, who had kept everything ready, and thus, were in a position to take advantage of the manipulation, thereby getting LOIs, UASL and spectrum, though they were not eligible for the same

The verdict:

# There is no material on record to show that A. Raja was the motherlode of conspiracy in the case. There is also no evidence of his no-holds-barred immersion in any wrongdoing, conspiracy or corruption.

# There is no evidence on the record produced before the court indicating any criminality in the acts allegedly committed by the accused persons relating to fixation of cut-off date, manipulation of first-come first-served policy, allocation of spectrum to dual technology applicants, ignoring ineligibility of STPL and Unitech group companies, non-revision of entry fee and transfer of Rs. 200 crore to Kalaignar TV (P) Limited as illegal gratification.

# Many facts recorded in the charge sheet are factually incorrect, like the finance Secretary strongly recommending revision of entry fee, deletion of a clause of draft LOI by Sh. A. Raja, recommendations of TRAI for revision of entry fee etc.

#The genesis of the instant case lies not so much in the actions of A. Raja but in the action/inaction of department of telecom officers .

# When documents are not traceable easily and readily and policy issues are scattered haphazardly in so many files, it becomes difficult for anyone to understand the issues. Non-understanding of issues in proper perspective led to a suspicion of grave wrongdoing, where there was none.

The acquitted:

# A Raja, Former Telecom minister

# Sidharath Behura, former telecom secretary

# R K Chandolia, IES officer, personal secretary to Telecom Minister

# Shahid Usman Balwa, Managing Director, Swan telecom Pvt Ltd, now Etisalat DB Telecom Pvt Ltd

# Vinod Goenka, director, Swan telecom Pvt ltd and managing director DB Realty

# Sanjay Chandra, managing director, Unitech Ltd

# Gautam Doshi, Group Managing Director, Reliance ADA group

# Surendra Pipara, Group President, Reliance ADA group

# Hari Nair, vice president, Reliance ADA group

# Asif Balwa, director, Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd

# Rajiv Agarwal, director Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd

# Karim Morani, Director, Cineyug Media & Entertainment Pvt. Ltd

# Sharad Kumar, Director/promoter, Kalaignar TV Pvt. Ltd

# Kanimozhi Karunanithi, Director/promoter, Kalaignar TV Pvt. Ltd

# Ravi Kant Ruia, vice-chairman, Essar group

# Anshuman Ruia, promoter, Essar group

# I P Khaitan, Promoter, Khaitan group

# Kiran Khaitan, Former Director, Santa Trading Pvt Ltd

# Vikash Saraf, Director Strategy, Essar

#M.K.Dayalu Ammal, director KTV, Karunanidhi’s wife

#P. Amirtham, director, Kalaignar TV

# Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd

# Unitech Wireless Ltd (Tamil Nadu)

# Reliance Telecom Ltd

# Loop telecom ltd

# Loop Mobile India ltd

# Essar Teleholding ltd

# Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd

# Cineyug Media & Entertainment pvt Ltd

# Kalaignar TV Pvt Ltd

# Dynamix Realty

# Eversmile Constructions Company Pvt Ltd

# Conwood Construction & Developers Pvt Ltd

# DB Realty Limited

# Mystical Construction Pvt Limited

Prominent witnesses:

# The late GE Vahanvati, former attorney general of India

# Nripendra Mishra, former TRAI chairman, now principal secretary to the Prime Minister

# DS Mathur, former DoT secretary

# T K Vishwanathan, law secretary, ministry of law and justice

# Dr D Subba Rao, former governor, Reserve Bank of India, ex-finance secretary, government of India

# Anil D Ambani, chairman, Reliance Group and his wife, Tina A Ambani

# Niira Radia, coporate lobbyist

First Published: Dec 20, 2017 21:08 IST