The prosecuting agencies in the 2G spectrum case on Friday told the Delhi High Court that a trial court order acquitting former Telecom Minister A Raja and Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi and others was a case of “monumental loss and a shame to the nation”, PTI reported.
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate, told the court that the spectrum allocation scam caused a huge loss to the public exchequer.
A special Central Bureau of Investigation Court in New Delhi acquitted all the accused in December, citing lack of evidence. Besides Kanimozhi and Raja, former Telecom Secretary Sidharth Behura and Raja’s private secretary RK Chandolia were other big names involved in the case. Special CBI judge OP Saini, however, imposed a bail bond of Rs 5 lakh each to ensure their presence in a higher appellate court if the verdict was challenged. The CBI and the ED had moved the High Court against their acquittal.
Mehta also sadi the plea of the accused seeking more time to file their response in the case were “delaying tactics” adopted by them. “The High Court should, in fact, be hearing the appeal against the conviction,” Mehta told the bench, according to The Indian Express. “Any attempt on the part of the accused to delay the hearing shall be stiffly and sternly opposed and resisted by the Central government.”
The High Court posted the CBI’s plea for August 2, while the Enforcement Directorate’s plea will be heard on August 6.
The alleged scandal is said to have originated in 2008, when the Union Ministry of Communications and Information Technology sold 122 2G licenses on a first-come-first-served basis.
The primary allegation was that Raja, as the Union telecom minister, chose this method to favour a few companies and received kickbacks for doing so. The Enforcement Directorate claimed that 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 DMK patriarch Karunanidhi, held 80% of the shares.
The CBI claimed 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.