The Delhi High Court on Friday allowed an appeal by the Central Bureau of Investigation challenging the acquittal of former Union telecommunications minister A Raja, among others, in the 2G spectrum allocation scam case, The Hindu reported.

“This court after going through the material on record, the impugned judgement and the submissions made at bar by both the sides is of the opinion that a prima facie case has been made out which requires deeper examination of the entire evidence,” Live Law quoted Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma as saying.

The central agency’s appeal was admitted nearly six years after it moved court challenging Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader’s acquittal.

The Central Bureau of Investigation has argued that there were “glaring illegalities” in the trial court’s order acquitting all the accused in the 2G spectrum allocation scam case.

Raja is currently a Lok Sabha MP from Tamil Nadu’s Nilgiris constituency.

In December 2017, a special court in Delhi had acquitted all the accused in the 2G spectrum allocation cases. Besides Raja, the accused included Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MP Kanimozhi, former Telecom Secretary Sidharth Behura and Raja’s private secretary RK Chandolia.

Special Judge OP Saini had criticised the Central Bureau of Investigation for “misreading” the case.

“There is no evidence on the record produced before the Court indicating any criminality in the acts allegedly committed by the accused persons,” he had said while delivering the 2017 verdict. “The chargesheet of the instant case is based mainly on misreading, selective reading, non-reading and out of context reading of the official record.”

The alleged scandal is said to have originated in 2008, when the Union Ministry of Communications and Information Technology sold 122 2G licences on a first-come-first-served basis.

The primary allegation was that Raja, as the Union telecom minister at the time, chose this method to favour a few companies and received kickbacks for doing so. The Enforcement Directorate claimed that the kickbacks earned from the scam were routed to the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-run television channel Kalaignar TV, in which Kanimozhi and Dayalu Ammal, the wife of party patriarch Karunanidhi, held 80% of the shares.

The Central Bureau of Investigation had argued that Raja incurred huge losses for the state exchequer by undercharging telecom firms. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India had estimated the total loss to be Rs 1.76 lakh crore.

In November 2020, the Delhi High Court had dismissed petitions filed by Raja and others saying that the Central Bureau of Investigation’s appeal against their acquittal had become unnecessary as the anti-corruption law had been amended in 2018 to redefine “criminal misconduct”.

The High Court, however, had said that the amendment to the Prevention of Corruption Act did not apply to those offences which have already taken place and found no reason to stop hearing the Central Bureau of Investigation’s appeal.

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