On Thursday, a Delhi CBI court acquitted all the seventeen 2G scam accused, including former Communication Minister A. Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi, several businessmen and former bureaucrats, and severely castigated the Special Prosecutor and CBI for failing to provide concrete evidences of corruption.
The special judge O. P. Saini in his 1,552-page verdict ominously wrote: "For the last seven years, on all working days, summer vacation included, I religious sat in open court from 10 am to 5 pm, waiting for someone with some legally admissible evidence, but in vain."
This speaks much about our lower judiciary and the prosecution. The special court's verdict clearly runs counter to the Supreme Court order cancelling all 122 licences issued during the 2G scam.
The Supreme Court while cancelling all 122 2G spectrum licences had clearly described the allotments as "arbitrary, capricious and contrary to public interest".
The apex court verdict had clearly said that the minister (A. Raja) "had virtually gifted away the important national asset at throwaway prices". And yet, the trial court has acquitted Raja and others.
On its part, the CBI reacted to the trial court verdict by saying it would appeal before the Delhi High Court. The CBI spokesman has said "it appears that the evidence adduced to substantiate the charges by the prosecution has not been appreciated in its proper perspective by the learned court. The CBI will be taking necessary legal remedies in the matter.”
One thing is very clear: the CBI and its prosecutor did not work diligently. Had they worked seriously, the judge would not have made such stinging remarks. The judge wrote four pages on the role of the public prosecutor, and described how the entire case was dealt with in a casual manner. The judge, in his verdict, also noted how accused A. Raja fought the case like a clever lawyer.
If one carefully reads the judge's verdict, he has nowhere outrightly rejected the charge that there was corruption and wheeling-dealing in the 2G scam. His main contention was that the CBI failed to produce concrete evidences.
Soon after the 2G scam verdict, Congress leaders quickly claimed their stand were vindicated. The Congress leaders alleged that the BJP "used" this 2G scam to gain political advantage in the 2014 elections. It is true, during the 2014 elections, BJP leaders were mentioning "2G, 3G, Jijaji" in most of their speeches, and described the 2G scam as one of India's biggest scams.
Thursday's verdict may cause political loss to the BJP, because the common people do not normally read the entire verdict. A perception will surely gain ground that all the accused in the 2G scam have been acquitted by the court.
Few people will try to understand that it was the Supreme Court which had described the 2G licence allotments as "arbitrary, capricious and contrary to public interest", and had cancelled all 122 licences. In the final run, it is the perception that counts, and it will be tough for BJP leaders to explain the correct position to the masses.
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