The CBI special court acquitted former telecom minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and several others in the 2G spectrum allocation scam cases. Special CBI judge OP Saini pronounced the judgements in separate cases lodged by the CBI and the ED in the infamous 2G scam which rocked the Congress-led UPA government.
In a short judgement, the court said prosecution “miserably” failed to prove their case.
The trial in 2G spectrum scam started six years ago in 2011 after the court had framed charges against 17 accused in the CBI’s case for the offences which entails punishment ranging from six months in life imprisonment.
Essar Group promoters Ravi Kant Ruia and Anshuman Ruia, Loop Telecom promoters Kiran Khaitan, her husband IP Khaitan and Essar Group Director (Strategy and Planning) Vikash Saraf also stood trial in the matter.
In the first case filed by the CBI, Raja and Kanimozhi faced trial along with former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, Raja’s erstwhile private secretary R K Chandolia, Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra and three top executives of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (RADAG) — Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair.
Directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, Kalaignar TV director Sharad Kumar and Bollywood producer Karim Morani were also among the accused.
Besides them, three telecom firms — Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd (STPL), Reliance Telecom Ltd and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd — were also accused in the case.
During the course of trial, all the accused denied the allegations levelled against them by the CBI and the ED.
The court had in October 2011 framed charges against them under various provisions of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act dealing with offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery, using as genuine fake documents, abusing official position, criminal misconduct by public servant and taking bribe.
In its charge sheet filed in April 2011 against Raja and others, CBI had alleged that there was a loss of Rs 30,984 crore to the exchequer in allocation of 122 licences for 2G spectrum which were scrapped by the Supreme Court on February 2, 2012.
In the case involving promoters of Essar Group, Loop Telecom and Saraf, three companies — Loop Telecom Ltd, Loop Mobile India Ltd and Essar Tele Holding Ltd (ETHL) – were also named by the CBI in its charge sheet.
The CBI had named them in its charge sheet on December 12, 2011, alleging they had cheated the Department of Telecommunication by using Loop Telecom as a “front” to secure 2G licences in 2008.
Later, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had filed a charge sheet against Raja, Kanimozhi and others for alleged offence of money laundering.
The ED had listed 19 accused in its charge sheet in April 2014, including Raja, Kanimozhi, Shahid Balwa, Vinod Goenka, Asif Balwa, Rajiv Aggarwal, Karim Morani, P Amirtham and Sharad Kumar in connection with the case.
In its charge sheet, the ED had also named DMK supremo M Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal as an accused in the case in which it had alleged that Rs 200 crore was paid by STPL promoters to DMK-run Kalaignar TV.
In its final report, the ED had named 10 individuals and nine companies as accused and listed them in the charge sheet for the offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
Besides Kalaignar TV, the other companies accused in the case are STPL (now Etisalat DB Telecom (P) Ltd), Kusegaon Realty (P) Ltd, Cineyug Media & Entertainment (P) Ltd, Dynamix Realty, Eversmile Construction Company (P) Ltd, Conwood Construction & Developers (P) Ltd, DB Realty Ltd and Mystical Construction (P) Ltd (earlier known as Nihar Constructions (P) Ltd).
(With inputs from PTI)