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MANISHEK SINGH AND ANWESHA GHOSH
2G spectrum scam one of the most famous scams of India in the year 2018 under the government of UPA (United Progressive Alliance). The scam is conducted by politicians and governs officials under the Government. In the scam the government divides the spectrum, which is national wealth, into “bands” and manages the spectrum across the country by assigning different “telecom circles”. Therefore in order to get access for the telecom company to offer continual access across India they have to bid in tender in the existing 22 circles. In 2008, 122 new second generations 2G Unified Access Service (UAS) licenses were granted to telecom companies on a said first come first served basis at the price of 2001. None of the government procedure was followed by Minister of Telecom that time A Raja. The Cut-off date for application was extended by a whole week licenses were not allotted on a first-come-first-served basis as they were supposed to be, no due process of auctioning was conducted nor the Bids were invited.
2G spectrum Case Analysis:
The 2G spectrum case is fundamentally a mix of three cases – two enlisted by the CBI and one by the Enforcement Directorate.
The main case concerns prosecution brought about by the CBI against former Union telecom minister A Raja and others for criminal conspiracy and abuse of authoritative position by public servants. The second CBI case is the Essar-Loop case against Essar and its promoters.
The third is Rs 200 crore prevention of money laundering case enlisted by the ED against Raja and other people and the companies.
On 2nd of Feb 2012, a petition was recognized by the Supreme Court regarding the 2G spectrum auction. On the same date apex court declared the allotment of spectrum “Unconstitutional and arbitrary”, cancelling the 122 licenses issued in 2008 under A.Raja government.
In order to study about the whole issue and to calculate the actual loss various committee were formed and ordered to give their report regarding the scam.
At very first CAG (Comptroller and auditor general of India) was assigned the task to give their report regarding the issue. CAG after going through the whole process of investigation gave his report identifying the loss at 1.76 trillion .
After which opposition parties unanimously demanded the formation of a Joint Parliament committee to investigate the scam in detail. Although the ruling government rejected their, demand.
On April 2011 by CBI, charge sheet was filed against the scam and the loss pegged at Rupees 309,845.5 million. In reply TRAI said that the government had gained over 30 billion by selling 2G spectrum.
After which, on 2 Feb 2012, the Supreme Court of India ruled on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) related to the scam, court declared the allotment of spectrum “unconstitutional and arbitrary”, cancelling the 122 licenses issued in 2008 under A.Raja government.
The charges levied in this case were:
A Raja, alongside Sidharath Behura, RK Chandolia, plotted to offer advantages to private accused people in the issuance for letters of purpose, Unified Access Services Licences (UASL) and spectrum by the Department of Telecom.
A Raja guaranteed that there would be a cut-off date on the receipt and handling of the UASL applications, with the goal that the framework can be controlled to profit the favoured few.
The first come first serve was changed to first compliance first serve one. The change was not uncovered before the general population but rather was made known to just to a favoured few, who had kept everything prepared, and in this way, were in a position to exploit the control. Along these lines, getting letter of intent (LOIs), UASL and spectrum, was easy however they were not qualified for the same.
The Case Verdict:
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Dec 21, 2017 announced no evidence to move with the prosecution of the accused and hence acquitted all accused personnel. The following are the details of the verdict:
No additional proof or evidence against A. Raja to show that he was the all in all conspirator of the case. Also there was no indication available against him to prove that he was involved in wrongdoings, conspiracy or corruption.
No evidence could be adduced before the court of law so as to indicate the crime committed by the accused individuals relating to fixation of cut-off date, manipulation of first-come first-served policy, allocation of spectrum to dual technology applicants, ignoring ineligibility of STPL and Unitech group companies, non-revision of entry fee and transfer of Rs. 200 crore to Kalaignar TV (P) Limited as illegal gratification.
Apparently, numerous facts recorded in the charge sheet are erroneous, like the Finance Secretary firmly suggesting a revision of entry fee, cancellation of a clause of draft LOI by Sh. A. Raja, recommendations of TRAI for revision of entry fee etc.
Acquittal of all 18 accused including A Raja and K Kanimozhi in 2G spectrum allocation case.
This recent verdict, however, doesn’t supersede the 2012 Supreme Court judgment or detract from the way that the licenses issued amid 2G spectrum allocations were illegal.
2G special court took around seven years and more than 1,500 pages to reason that there was not a single piece of “legitimately admissible evidence” against any of the 17 charged in what was touted as one of India’s greatest scams.
Anyone would question as to what premise the charges were framed for this case, which culminated into an extended trial crossing more than six years. Principles of criminal trial articulate that charges are framed simply after the trial court is satisfied that there exists a case against the accused.
Surprisingly, it was the same judge, OP Saini who had previously discovered adequate lawfully allowable proof accessible on record to kickstart the trial on a day to day basis after framing of charges in October 2011 but now according to the same judge there is no substantial evidence available to go on with the trail.
In the event that six years of trial, which was being monitored by the Supreme Court and in which the charge-sheets were reviewed by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), inevitably discovers that the entire case was basically “rumour, gossip and speculation”, this was not just a fragrant infringement of the rights of the accused who were made to stand trial and their bail petitions were more than once rejected, yet additionally there was misuse of public money and human resources – and for this, only the trial court is accountable.
On the other hand, in the event that we have a tendency to sensibly interpret it as an instance of late realization by the trial court, likewise the judge, being the master of the trial, ought to clarify why a trial would keep running for a long time with no proof against the accused; why the judge would not exercise his powers under the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.P.C.) to demand evidence from the prosecution during the trial; why it is just at the phase of penning down the judgment the court recognized that the prosecution had no case at all lastly, for what reason did it take the judge eight months to compose the judgment of acquittal for a case that was deprived of any legitimacy.
In any case, it is a similarly vital guideline laid down by the Supreme Court in a body of judicial precedents that “a criminal trial is meant for doing justice to all, the accused, the society and a fair chance to prove to the prosecution, since then alone can law and order be maintained” and therefore, the presiding judges has a duty “to find out the truth, and administer justice with fairness and impartiality both to the parties and to the community.”
The vital question therefore pops up is that whether the prosecution was given a “fair opportunity” to prove the case and side by side whether the trial court did its best “to find out the truth” apart from following the golden rule of “proof beyond reasonable doubt”.
About the Rs. 200 crore from Dynamix Realty to Kalaignar TV (P) Limited, which was controlled by the DMK family, including Kanimozhi, through Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables (P) Limited and Cineyug Films (P) Limited, the trial court settled of the view that the transaction “may have some unusual features and the documentation created for the same may suffer from deficiencies”. However, it held that these elements alone did not influence it to out a “transaction of payment of illegal gratification.”
The prosecution’s case of the money trail was dismissed on the ground that it couldn’t build up a connection of the money with public servants and that there was likewise an issue of “chronological proximity” on the grounds that the primary exchange of cash started four months after the licenses were given. In this way, no upfront or transfer of money in quick succession prompted the judge to let down the prosecution’s claim, thereby ignoring the possible criminality of the transaction although under the Prevention of Corruption Act, it is not required to prove pecuniary benefits?
While one segment of the society named the acquittal as “shocking” and opined that it will politically raise a difficult circumstance, the other said that an “air pocket was made” which burst because of an absence of evidence.
Soli Sorabjee, former Attorney General, said he can’t term the judgment as “good or bad” without reading it but was quick to add that “this is not a final verdict” and can be tested in appeals before higher courts.
While Sinha, a former high court judge, named the result as “unlawful”, Senior Advocate, Dushyant Dave said “it shows a botched-up investigation in the matter where the prosecution failed to prove the case” and “this verdict creates serious doubts on the investigating agencies especially premier agency like the CBI.”
Individuals like A Raja and others carry out these kinds of violations on the grounds that no social shame is connected to these crimes. A man who has committed a murder or dacoity is looked down upon with hatred but such criminals generally even after conviction is acknowledged in society. There is no ultimate deterrent effect in regards to such high profile cases as we can see in the instant case.
Now the point is if people like these who are indulged in this massive scam are acquitted on the basis of lack of evidences then how the independence of Judiciary can be interpreted. At the same time question arises that the decision of CBI court which shows the incompetence of Judiciary.
The question arises on the competence of CBI because in a scam in which CAG, JPC, Income tax, CBI everyone submitted their report in which distinct amount is specified but the common thing is everyone accepted that there is massive scam in it, at the point the judgment given by the CBI court shows bi-directional approach at one instance they submit report that there is scam of lot of money and prosecute 17 alleged offenders but when it come to the judgment they relocate from their report in different way by stating the fact that they don’t have sufficient evidences to prosecute against the alleged offenders therefore they need to be freed.