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Sunday, Aug 18, 2019

Failed ‘propaganda’ to ‘no badge of honour’: Who said what about 2G spectrum scam

All accused in the 2G spectrum allocation case are acquitted by a special court in Delhi for lack of evidence.

india Updated: Dec 21, 2017 15:25 IST

Agencies, New Delhi
Supporters of  DMK leader and former telecom minister A Raja celebrate in Delhi after a special court on December 21 acquitted him in the 2G spectrum case.
Supporters of DMK leader and former telecom minister A Raja celebrate in Delhi after a special court on December 21 acquitted him in the 2G spectrum case.(Sanchit Khanna/ HT Photo)

Reactions have been sharp after a special court on Thursday acquitted all accused in the grant of 2G spectrum telecom licences due to lack of evidence in one of the country’s biggest corruption cases.

The Congress party, which led the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government when the scam allegedly took place, is treating the court verdict as a victory, but the Bharatiya Janata Party said it was “no badge of honour”. Here is a selection of quotes from political parties.

Congress leader and former prime minister Manmohan Singh

“We respect the court’s verdict. The court’s statement has to be respected and I am glad that the court has pronounced unambiguously that all this massive propaganda against the UPA government was without any foundation. The judgement speaks for itself,” Singh said.

Congress leader Kapil Sibal

Sibal asked Vinod Rai, the former Comptroller and Auditor General CAG, to apologise. Rai, as CAG, had estimated that bungling in 2G spectrum allocation had caused a loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the nation. “I have been saying from day one that there was no loss and I have been vindicated today. In fact, it is Vinod Rai who must apologise to the nation,” said Sibal.

Finance minister and BJP leader Arun Jaitley

Jaitley said the Congress must not celebrate because the Supreme Court had rejected the UPA government’s telecom policy. “Congress leaders are treating this judgement as some kind of a badge of honour and a certification that it was an honest policy,” Jaitley told reporters outside Parliament. “This was a corrupt and dishonest policy, which has already been upheld by the Supreme Court in 2012.”

DMK leader MK Stalin

A Raja, Stalin’s party colleague, was telecom minister in the UPA government and he was among the people who were acquitted in the 2G case on Thursday. Stalin said the court verdict had brought “happiness” to his party. “It is now proven that the case was politically motivated to malign one party. It is also now proven that everyone they accused of huge graft was innocent,” he said in Chennai.

The 2G spectrum allocation case relates to alleged below-market-price sale of lucrative telecom permits bundled with airwaves in 2008, which a federal auditor said may have cost the government as much as $28 billion in lost revenue.

In 2012, the Supreme Court ordered 122 licences held by eight operators to be revoked, declaring the licences illegal and the process “wholly arbitrary, capricious and contrary to public interest”.

It was one of the several scandals that emerged during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s second term, hobbling policymaking and diverting the government’s attention away from pushing forward crucial economic reforms.

First Published: Dec 21, 2017 15:25 IST

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