2G SPECTRUM SCAM VERDICT LIVE UPDATES: Following the acquittal of all accused, including Kanimozhi and A Raja, in the 2G spectrum scam, the CBI says the evidence submitted to substantiate the charges was not “appreciated in its proper perspective by the learned court”. In the 1,552-page order, special CBI judge OP Saini faulted the probe agency, saying the “quality of prosecution totally deteriorated and it became directionless and diffident”. Bouyed by the verdict, the DMK and the Congress say the entire case was a “massive conspiracy” and “propaganda”. Former UPA ministers Kapil Sibal, Manish Tewari and Veerappa Moily have demanded that former CAG Vinod Rai — who had pegged the loss to the exchequer at Rs 1.76 lakh crore — be held accountable. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, however, says the Congress shouldn’t treat the verdict as a “badge of honour”. BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, a private complainant in the case, wants the CBI to appeal against the acquittals in High Court. The trial in 2G spectrum scam started six years ago in 2011 after the court had framed charges against 17 accused in the CBI case for offences that entailed punishment ranging from six months to life imprisonment.
Stay tuned as Ananya Chakraborty brings you LIVE updates:
Dec 21, 2017 17:50 (IST)
Senior advocate Vikas Singh and former High Court judge R S Sodhi said prosecution did not have enough material to establish its case. "There was lack of evidence. It speaks volumes of our judiciary. They had the best special public prosecutor in the matter. There was nothing in the matter. A bubble was created and it has now been burst," Sodhi said. Taking a little different take, Singh maintained that scam was only, if at all, with regard to the eligibility being changed from first come first served. "However, the prosecution did not have enough materials to establish even that and that is why everybody has gone scot-free in this case," he said. Further, Singh said that he maintained right from the beginning that this was never a scam. "This whole decision to give spectrum at those pre- determined prices can never be a scam at all because if the government decides to give infrastructure to people at cheaper rates through these companies, then it can't be a scam," he added.
Dec 21, 2017 17:36 (IST)
Senior advocates Ajit Kumar Sinha and Dushyant Dave were forthcoming in their views and questioned the prosecution for the debacle. While Sinha, a former high court judge, termed the outcome as "unfortunate", 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." "Politically it raises a serious situation in the country. We have to see it in the political spectrum in a long way," he said. Sinha toed the findings of the special court which said the CBI had started its case with "great enthusiasm and ardour" but at the final stage of the trial, the Special Public Prosecutor and the regular CBI prosecutor moved in "two different directions without any coordination". "They (the CBI and ED) started on a good note and later it became very very lacklustre and there was no evidence to corroborate nor it was taken with all sincerity and that really led to acquittal of each and every accused and its unfortunate," he said.
Dec 21, 2017 17:28 (IST)
Former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee said he cannot term the judgement 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. "It is only a special court verdict which can be appealed against. The CBI can appeal in the High Court. I have not read the judgement so cannot say if it was good or bad," Sorabjee, who was the top law officer during the previous NDA regime, told PTI.
In its 80,000 page charge sheet that filled four large trunks and was filed in April 2011, the CBI had alleged that the government exchequer had suffered a loss of Rs 30,984 crore in the allocation of 122 licences for 2G spectrum.
Dec 21, 2017 16:31 (IST)
The Congress has said that the 2G verdict will remain a black mark in the history of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and the former CAG chief Vinod Rai should be prosecuted. "A blind man can see. You know the CAG chief is today one of the strong advisors of the government, posted on various boards and organisations and is being rewarded for what he has done. That will remain a black mark in the history of CAG," Vadakkan said. "He (Vinod Rai) should be prosecuted by the law of the land for creating such kind of excuses and cover-ups. I think he should be prosecuted," the Congress spokesperson told a private channel after the special courts verdict acquitting all the accused in the cases of 2G spectrum allocation scam.
Dec 21, 2017 16:21 (IST)
NCP leader Supriya Sule expressed happiness at the 2G verdict, saying that justice has been done. "So happy for my friend Kanni.. justice done (sic)," Sule, who represents the Baramati Lok Sabha seat, said in a tweet, referring to DMK MP Kanimozhi.
The Shiv Sena said today that the BJP should clarify to the nation why it had raised the 2G scam issue in a big way, after a special court acquitted all the accused in the case. Sena MP Sanjay Raut wondered if the court verdict meant that "there was no scam in the first place". "Those who raised the allegation of scam are now ruling the country. It is up to them to clarify," Raut said, without naming any party.
Dec 21, 2017 15:31 (IST)
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, private complainant in the 2G case, is addressing a press conference. There can be an appeal. There are three layers in judiciary…. Paragraph 1812 of the judgment is a condemnation of CBI lawyers that the counsel was not able to prove anything. Judge OP Saini says there was great enthusiasm in the case in the beginning. This was when I was involved in the case.
Dec 21, 2017 15:13 (IST)
BREAKING | CBI will appeal against special court verdict in 2G case in Delhi HC, says agency spokesperson Abhishek Dayal
Dec 21, 2017 15:10 (IST)
DMK MP Kanimozhi speaks to CNN-News18's Zakka Jacob hours after being acquitted in the 2G spectrum scam case. "Politically, I have learnt a lot in the last six-seven years.... I am a minoroty stakeholder in Kalaignar TV. I have hardly been to Kalaingar TV. I had not gone for meetings after I resigned. There have been documents saying I have not signed documents and still the case was filed. Congress President Rahul Gandhi called me and said it’s a big day for us. He said truth has triumphed."
Dec 21, 2017 14:58 (IST)
Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi demands apology from media as well
Will media apologise treating accused as convicts? W bjp sr leaders, now sr ministers, apologise? Their reasoning-accused in 2G r convicts b4 conviction; cos those accused r convicts, hence cong is also a convict! Same applies 2large sections of press. Today law & principle won.
FIRST CBI REACTION | In first official reaction following the 2G scam verdict, the CBI says, evidence adduced to substantiate charges has not been appreciated by the court. “The judgment relating to the 2G scam dated 21.12.2017 has been prima facie examined and 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 is taking necessary legal remedies in the matter.” The 2G verdict is the second such big blow to the probe agency following Rajesh and Nupur Talwar's acquittal in the Aarushi Talwar murder case.
Dec 21, 2017 14:23 (IST)
Congress leader Ajay Maken targets BJP after the 2G scam verdict
FROM THE JUDGMENT | Special CBI judge OP Saini’s order, running into over 1,500 pages, had some harsh words for the CBI. "Religiously sat in open court for the last 7 years from 10 am to 5 pm even during summer vacation awaiting for someone with legally admissible evidence. Not a single soul turned up."
Dec 21, 2017 13:48 (IST)
EXCLUSIVE | Former PM Manmohan Singh and Congress President Rahul Gandhi dial DMK MP Kanimozhi, speak to her after acquittal in the 2G case. According to sources, Kanimozhi told Singh that she would seek an appointment with him, while the ex-PM asked her to convey his regards to her half-brother and DMK working president MK Stalin. DMK is a key constituent of the Congress-led UPA. Singh and the Congress had faced scathing criticism during the second tenure of the UPA for not snapping ties with the southern ally in the aftermath of CAG Vinod Rai’s 2G report.
Dec 21, 2017 13:41 (IST)
Shares of companies linked to the 2G spectrum scam case surged up to 20 per cent after a special court acquitted all accused, including DMk leaders Kanimozhi and A Raja. Unitech surged 19.91 percent, DB Realty 19.89 percent, Reliance Communications 13.49 per cent and Sun TV Network 5.98 percent on the BSE.
The DMK MP said she was charge-sheeted with the "sole aim to tag my name with a mind-boggling amount to make sure that Kalaignar's (Karunanidhi's) rule will not continue for the next 5-year term."
Dec 21, 2017 13:07 (IST)
The 2G verdict acquitting DMK MP Kanimozhi, former telecom minister A Raja and other accused marks yet another setback for the Central Bureau of Investigation. In this 1,552-page judgment, special CBI judge OP Saini said the “quality of prosecution totally deteriorated and it became directionless and diffident.” The CBI had recently faced flak for its probe into the Aarushi Talwar and Hemraj murder cases, following which the Allahabad High Court acquitted Aarushi’s parents, Rajesh and Nupur Talwar.
Dec 21, 2017 12:49 (IST)
Nothing short of apology from Vinod Rai will work now, says Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam
Nothing less than apology from former CAG Vinod Rai is going to work now. The whole 2G scam figure was fictitious and was a deliberate attempt to defame Congress party and its allies. After today's Court verdict Mr Rai shd come out & tender apology publicly.#2GScamVerdict
DMK Working President MK Stalin describes the 2G verdict as "historic". "A historic verdict has been delivered," says Stalin. Recalling that the case was filed in 2009, he says it was a "planned (attempt) to insult and finish off a party in the political history (of the country)." "It is a matter of joy that all of them have been acquitted," he adds.
Dec 21, 2017 12:32 (IST)
Attached properties of 2G accused to be released
#JustIn | 2G Court says entire case was hinged upon ‘proceeds of crime’ of Rs 200 cr parked in Kalaignar TV; ‘Proceeds Of Crime’ is the foundational fact for the offence of money laundering pic.twitter.com/caiKb4OfYf
DMK reacts to speculation of political realignment in Tamil Nadu following the 2G spectrum scam verdict. “The Congress backed us. Your perception that they abandoned us is not correct. We are very much with the Congress and will continue to be so. PM Narendra Modi meeting Karunanidhi was just a courtesy call. Please don’t read political motives into it,” says DMK MP Tiruchi Siva.
Dec 21, 2017 12:14 (IST)
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley reacts to the 2G verdict. “Some parties are treating this verdict as a badge of honour. In 2007-08, spectrum was not given by auction, but on the basis of price discovery which was based on 2001 prices. Even within the policy implementation, there was huge element of arbitration. Cut-off date was advanced, first-come, first-served basis policy was intended to serve a few. It was then changed to first-come, first-pay policy. Favourite few were told in advance about the policy. Even the Supreme Court challenged this first-come, first-served policy and quashed it. The court called it unfair and intended to cause loss to the Government of India. Supreme Court directed the government to have a fresh policy. And in 2015, the NDA government got a much higher price…. (UPA) policy was designed to promote corruption. It was implemented in an unfair manner, causing loss of revenue to the government. Auctioning was getting much higher price. I am sure investigating agencies and prosecuting agencies will look into it and decide what to do further in the matter. The Congress should not consider this as some kind of certificate of clean chit."
Dec 21, 2017 12:03 (IST)
OPERATIVE PART OF VERDICT | There is no material on record to show that Sh. A. Raja was mother lode of conspiracy in the instant case. There is also no evidence of his no-holds-barred immersion in any wrongdoing, conspiracy or corruption.... I may add that many facts recorded in the charge sheet are factually incorrect, like Finance Secretary strongly recommending revision of entry fee, deletion of a clause of draft LOI by Sh. A. Raja, Recommendations of TRAI for revision of entry fee etc.
Dec 21, 2017 12:00 (IST)
FROM THE JUDGMENT | In the beginning, the prosecution started with the case with great enthusiasm and ardour. However, as the case progressed, it became highly cautious and guarded in its attitude making it difficult to find out as to what prosecution wanted to prove. The quality of prosecution totally deteriorated and it became directionless and diffident. When documents are not traceable easily and readily and policy issues are scattered haphazardly in so many files, it becomes difficult for anyone to understand the issues. Non-understanding of issues in proper perspective led to a suspicion of grave wrongdoing, where there was none, at least as per record of the Court.
Dec 21, 2017 11:57 (IST)
Sidelined AIADMK leader TTV Dinakaran “congratulates” Kanimozhi and A Raja. “I welcome the 2G verdict and congratulate all the accused who have been acquitted. Even as an opposition party, we didn't want them to go to jail,” he says. Dinakaran is an Independent candidate in today’s RK Nagar bypoll to fill the vacancy caused by Jayalalithaa’s death last year.
Dec 21, 2017 11:49 (IST)
Former PM Manmohan Singh reacts to the 2G verdict. “I do not want to boast (about) anything. The court's judgment has to be respected. I am glad that the court has pronounced unambiguously. All the massive propaganda which was being done against the UPA was without any foundation. The judgment speaks for itself,” he says. In the early days of the trial, A Raja had claimed that the then PM was in the know of the changes made to the spectrum auction process. The case had rocked the UPA government, leading to a drubbing for the Congress in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and several assembly elections thereafter.
O P Saini, 63, was handpicked for the 2G trial and is known as a quiet and hard-working judge in the legal fraternity.
Dec 21, 2017 11:38 (IST)
Former Union minister Milind Deora says "CBI and other agencies" should be held accountable.
As a former minister for Telecom & IT, I refused to pass judgement on the 2G ‘scam’. I wish CAG & the press had done the same, that the special court delivered justice sooner & that CBI & other agencies are held accountable for serious acts of omission