The Central Bureau of Investigation on Thursday said it will challenge the special Delhi court’s verdict in the 2G spectrum scam, in which it acquitted all the accused in the cases earlier in the day. The agency said the court had possibly not “appreciated [the evidence] in its proper perspective”, ANI reported.
Acquitting the accused Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MP Kanimozhi and former Telecom Minister A Raja, among others, special CBI judge OP Saini said the prosecution had “miserably failed” to prove any of the charges.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the verdict in the 2G spectrum allocation cases proved that the “massive propaganda” against the United Progressive Alliance was without any foundation. “The court’s judgment has to be respected,” Singh said.
A Raja said the court’s verdict had proved that people with vested interests had “cooked up” the “presumptive loss” of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the exchequer, PTI reported. Vested interests manipulated public perception by leveraging the media and sensationalising fabricated allegations, he said.
“I have felt somewhat vindicated all along even prior to this judgement because the beneficial results of my actions are being enjoyed by the nation’s public,” he said, adding that he had brought about a revolution in the telecom sector.
Raja said he had had the courage to step into the witness box, and that the prosecution’s case had been false from the beginning.
Meanwhile, Kanimozhi thanked her supporters for standing by her. “We are very happy that justice has prevailed,” she told ANI. “It is a big day for the DMK family. It is an answer to all the blames and the problems we faced.”
Former Union minister P Chidambaram said it was now established that allegations of a major scam involving the highest levels of the government were never true.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari sought an apology from former Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai for “throwing presumptive sensational corrosive numbers”. In his report in 2010, Rai had claimed that the 2G telecom spectrum allocation had resulted in a loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the national exchequer.
Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal also demanded an apology from Rai. “Today it has been proved that there was no corruption or any loss to the country,” he told reporters. “We want that the prime minister should come to the House and give clarification. This government was formed on the basis that the UPA was embroiled in 2G and other scams, but now it has been proved that it was just a scam of lies by the Opposition.”
Former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said that the court had observed that the prosecution’s main argument was on Clause 8 of the Unified Access Services Licences, which is a civil matter. “It was never an issue of criminality,” he told ANI. “All the accused have suffered enough. Licenses were cancelled. They were also unable to travel abroad.”
Congress leaders are treating this as a badge of honour, says Jaitley
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the 2G spectrum allocation case was quashed in the Supreme Court in 2012 as unfair and unintended loss caused to the government of India. “Congress leaders are treating this judgment as some kind of a badge of honour and a certification that it was an honest policy,” he told reporters. “The policy had caused loss is clear from the fact that the subsequent auctions got a much higher price... I am sure that the investigative agencies will have a close look at it and decide what has to be done.”
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy on Thursday said the government must immediately file an appeal in the Delhi High Court against the acquittal of the accused. Swamy said the Congress and its allies had celebrated the Karnataka High Court’s acquittal of late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in a disproportionate assets case. But in the Supreme Court, the case got deflated, he said. “Same will be here.”