New Delhi: A special court on Thursday acquitted 19 accused, including Former Telecom Minister A Raja and DMK leader Kanimozhi in the Enforcement Directorate's money laundering case relating to the 2G scam.
Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, Special Judge O P Saini also acquitted 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 Swan Telecom (P) Ltd (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 were 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).
It was alleged that 2G spectrum was allotted to mobile companies at below market prices causing huge losses to the government when Raja was the communications minister. He had to resign last month due to the scandal that DMK leaders admit has embarrassed the party.
Some media headlines came with the figure. "Loos to the Nation - Rs.176,000,000,000,0 - A Raja deprived government of this much money in 2G Spectrum allocation", a leading English daily had said citing CAG report.
The now in power Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) was at the forefront in attacking the then UPA government.
The allegation of scam had put so much pressure on the UPA government that even then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh offered the Parliament's Public Accounts Committee expressing his willingness to appear before it on the issue.
To directly drag the Congress in the case, controversial BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had approached the court for making Chidambaram a co-accused in the case. Swamy, while deposing against Chidambaram before the court had said that former communications minister A. Raja committed irregularities in connivance with Chidambaram in alloting the licenses.
The entire scam theory however collapsed today and the verdict shamed those who were "counting zeroes", in their rallies, speeches and newspapers to malign the image of Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the earstwhile UPA government.
"There was a scam only in Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Vinod Rai's mind", Kapil Sibal, who took over the charge of Telecom Ministry after Raja resigned, said.
Meanwhile, Special Judge OP Saini, who oversaw the trial of all 2G spectrum cases since early 2011, on Thursday said his seven-year wait for evidence ended “all in vain” because the case was mainly based on “rumour, gossip and speculation”.
“For the last about seven years, on all working days, summer vacation included, I religiously sat in the open court from 10 am to 5 pm, awaiting for someone with some legally admissible evidence in his possession but all in vain,” Saini said in his 1,552-page judgment.
“Not a single soul turned up. This indicates that everybody was going by public perception created by rumour, gossip and speculation. However, public perception has no place in judicial proceedings.”