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  India   All India  22 Dec 2017  Congress, DMK hail 2G verdict as ‘truth’

Congress, DMK hail 2G verdict as ‘truth’

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Dec 22, 2017, 4:48 am IST
Updated : Dec 22, 2017, 6:38 am IST

The BJP, while in Opposition, had used the controversy to paint the then Congress-led UPA government as thoroughly corrupt.

Former communications minister A. Raja's supporters dance as they celebrate his acquittal by a special court in New Delhi. (Photo: PTI)
 Former communications minister A. Raja's supporters dance as they celebrate his acquittal by a special court in New Delhi. (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: The acquittal of all the accused in the 2G scam by a special court on Thursday triggered a major political slugfest between the BJP and the Opposition with the Congress saying “truth” had finally prevailed and the ruling party asking it not to treat the verdict as a “badge of honour”.

The court’s order is a big relief to the Congress and a huge boost to the DMK. The BJP, while in Opposition, had used the controversy to paint the then Congress-led UPA government as thoroughly corrupt.

The Congress, which lost power in 2014 in a haze of corruption allegations, including the spectrum scandal, went into celebration mode with one leader after another, including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, hailing the verdict and demanding an apology from the BJP.

Dr Singh, whose government was battered by the BJP with what was widely considered to be the biggest scam independent India had ever seen, said the “acquittal proves that there was a propaganda of lies”.

“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 that the massive propaganda which was being done against the UPA was without any foundation. The judgment speaks for itself,” the former Prime Minister said.

At a media interaction in January 2014, the fag end of his term in office, Dr Singh was asked, “How do you see your legacy in view of the fact that you failed to act?”

Defending himself and the Congress’record, Dr Singh had said, prophetically, “I honestly believe that history will be kinder to me than the contemporary media, or for that matter, the Opposition parties in Parliament.”

The 2G scam first came to light in 2010 when the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, then headed by Vinod Rai, released a report claiming that the licences awarded by the telecom department were given away at throwaway prices, resulting in a loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the exchequer.

The UPA government was in power then, and the DMK’s A. Raja was the telecom minister. On Thursday, while the Congress asked the BJP to “apologise to the nation” for “spreading lies”, finance minister Arun Jaitley stood his ground and said: “The Congress Party is treating the judgment as some kind of badge of honour and certification that it was an honest policy.”

Mr Jaitley and Kapil Sibal, Congress leader and senior lawyer, also locked horns over the “zero loss theory” (propounded by the Congress).

“Our zero loss theory on 2G spectrum allocation has been vindicated… There was no corruption, no loss. If there’s a scam, it’s a scam of lies. A scam of (former CAG) Vinod Rai and the Opposition’s lies. Vinod Rai should apologise to the nation,” Mr Sibal said in response to Mr Jaitley’s statement.

The Congress leader maintained that the telecom sector was in “dire straits today”.

Charged with the Gujarat poll verdict, the Congress will now go ahead full steam to project itself as the victim of political propaganda. At this juncture, the verdict will severely affect the BJP’s moral high ground which it had taken since 2014.

Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said the party would raise the issue in Parliament. Incidentally, both the Houses, particularly the Rajya Sabha, are being stalled every day with the Congress demanding a clarification and an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for accusing Dr Singh of “conspiring” with Pakistan to defeat the BJP in the Gujarat polls.

Despite the 2G case ruling and the Congress claiming “vindication”, saffron leaders remained somewhat unrelenting with an Union minister saying the judgment “will be definitely challenged by the relevant authorities in a higher court”.

The BJP also held a meeting of its spokespersons and television panellists to counter the Congress. They were asked to highlight the fact that it was the Supreme Court which had quashed the licences, given on a first come-first served basis, and ordered that licences should be auctioned.

BJP spokespersons were also asked to point out how Dr Singh had tried to put the blame of 2G scam on the “compulsions of coalition politics”, indirectly blaming the Congress’ ally, DMK.

BJP MP Subramanian Swamy, who was instrumental in getting the CBI to probe the spectrum allocation after he became a petitioner in a PIL filed by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) in 2012, while claiming it was “not a setback”, took a subtle dig at “some law officers” and “hoped” that the PM “takes a lesson from this”.

Dr Swamy told PTI: “This is not a setback at all, it is an aberration as the law officers were not serious on fighting against corruption. So I hope the PM takes a lesson from this. We must now fight corruption on a war footing.”

The judgment is also expected to provide a major boost to the DMK, which is under attack from the AIADMK and other political adversaries in Tamil Nadu for the alleged involvement of Kanimozhi, daughter of party chief M. Karunanidhi, and A. Raja, the party’s dalit face.

Mr Raja and Ms Kanimozhi, who were in court during the verdict, claimed that “justice has been done”. Speaking to the media, Ms Kanimozhi said: “We are very happy that justice has prevailed. It is a big day for the DMK family. It is an answer to all the blame and the problems that we faced.”

Tags: 2g scam verdict, manmohan singh, vinod rai, a raja
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi