A special court on Thursday acquitted former Telecom Minister A Raja and Kanimozhi of DMK as well as businessmen and executives accused of bribery in the 2008 allocation of 2G telecom spectrum, an alleged scam that contributed to the Congress-led UPA's defeat in the 2014 parliamentary elections.
Special Judge OP Saini said the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate had failed to provide sufficient evidence to prove the charges against 33 persons named in the case and the court has "absolutely no hesitation in holding that the prosecution has miserably failed to prove any charge against any accused".
In his 1,552-page judgment, the judge said it was actually confusion caused by "various actions and inactions" of the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) that snowballed into a "huge scam seen by everyone where there was none".
He said many facts in the prosecution's "well choreographed chargesheet" were found to be incorrect. "All the accused are acquitted." The court also let off 19 accused including Raja and Kanimozhi in a related money laundering case probed by the Enforcement Directorate.
Also acquitted was DMK supremo M. Karunanidhi's wife Dayalu Ammal. Others exonerated included then Telecom Secretary Siddhartha Behura, Raja's former private secretary R.K. Chandolia, Essar Teleholdings' Ravi Ruia and Anshuman Ruia, Loop Telecom's Kiran Khaitan and I.P. Khaitan, DB Realty's Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka and former Reliance Group executives Gautam Doshi, Surendra Piparia and Hari Nair.
The so-called scam hit the headlines after the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its report in 2010 claimed that the Telecom Ministry had caused a notional loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the national exchequer by allocating 2G spectrum and licences to some companies at throwaway prices.
The Time magazine ranked it as the world's second-biggest abuse of executive power after the infamous Watergate scandal in the US. Here is the full text of the judgment:
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Updated Date: Dec 22, 2017 10:10:41 IST