NEW DELHI: After 10.30 am on Thursday, having ensured that only the accused and their counsels were present in court, trial court judge OP Saini read out the three-line operative part of his judgement, acquitting all 15 accused in the 2G case, including DMK leaders A Raja and M Kanimozhi.
Lawyers who briefed reporters outside the court quoted Judge OP Saini as holding that there was no available evidence against any of the accused. “I have no hesitation in holding that the prosecution has miserably failed to prove the charges and all the accused are acquitted of the charges,” the judge said according to lawyers.
A Raja was reportedly in tears. “Justice has prevailed,”said M Kanimozhi, parliamentarian and daughter of DMK chief M Karunanidhi. Outside court, hundreds of their supporters had gathered in support.
The 2G scam has been described as India’s biggest telecom scandal. A Raja , a former telecom minister, was accused of allocating airwaves and licenses for cellphone networks in exchange for kickbacks, causing the exchequer a loss of Rs. 1.76 lakh crore.
The 2G allegations, which emerged during the second term of Dr Manmohan Singh’s Congress-led coalition government at the centre, became a key constituent of the image of the administration as one seeped in systemic graft.
Named along with Mr Raja in the scandal were promoters and top executives of some of India’s best-known telecoms. Ms Kanimozhi was accused of corruption too; the CBI said that a 200-crore bribe paid by a telecom to Mr Raja was deposited in a TV channel in Chennai that is owned in part by her.
Mr Raja was arrested in 2011 and spent nearly one year in prison before getting bail.
After 2G Verdict, What Happened In Court: Kanimozhi, Raja’s Wife Broke Down
The DMK leaders were among 17 accused of a 1.76 lakh crore 2G scam.
NEW DELHI: After A Raja was found not guilty of conspiring and executing what has been described as one of India’s biggest scams, his wife and daughter broke down in court. Along with Mr Raja, who is a former telecom minister, M Kanimozhi, the daughter of DMK chief M Karunanidhi, was also acquitted. The party said “Victory begins now. With political motives this case was put in us. Conspiracies were hatched against us but all have been blown away now”.
Kanimozhi was in tears in court and later said “I would love to thank everyone who stood by me”.
The DMK leaders were among 17 accused of a 1.76 lakh crore scam; all were declared not guilty today with a Delhi judge saying the CBI had failed to provide evidence against them.
Mr Raja had been accused of using his office to hand out-of-turn cellphone network licenses in 2007-08 to telecom firms in exchange for kickbacks. Airwaves or second-generation (2G) frequency was bundled in at no cost. In 2010, the Supreme Court cancelled the allocations made by Mr Raja, who spent nearly one year in jail before getting bail in 2012.
Mr Raja, a trained lawyer, defended himself in court and cross-examined all witnesses.
Ahead of this morning’s verdict, hundreds of his supporters from his constituency in Tamil Nadu gathered at the court, causing chaos and forcing a delay in the judgement.
The 2G scam, first highlighted by the national auditor in a report in 2010, was one of a series of corruption swindles that tainted the government of Dr Manmohan Singh, which was voted out after two consecutive terms in 2014.
In November this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the 93-year-old DMK chief who has been sick for several years in Chennai, and suggested he use the PM’s residence in Delhi to recuperate. The visit was seen as an indicator that Mr Modi and his party, the BJP, are not averse to an alliance with the DMK in Tamil Nadu.