Tuesday, May 21, 2024 | Last Update : 07:26 PM IST

  Opinion   Oped  28 Dec 2017  Age Debate: A ploy to malign Congress?

Age Debate: A ploy to malign Congress?

Published : Dec 28, 2017, 4:09 am IST
Updated : Dec 28, 2017, 4:09 am IST

If there was no scam in 2G allocations, the UPA government was unfairly tarnished.

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)

The case was motivated to target Cong
K.C. Mittal

There has been a lot of propaganda about the 2G spectrum allocations. Allegations were made about the UPA government, and it was used as a political tool to besmirch its good name. Let me first quote from the trial court judgment: “There is no evidence on the record produced before the court indicating any criminality in the acts allegedly committed by the accused persons relating to fixation to cutoff date, manipulation of ‘first-come-first-serve policy’ allocation of spectrum to dual technology applicants.” The judgment clearly states that there is no evidence. I would like to ask where is the loss? Where is criminality? Will the cheerleaders of the BJP please reply? One thing which very clearly emerges that there was a conspiracy, whereby an architecture of untruth and entire campaign was systematically tilt in order to tarnish the image of the then UPA government.

Unfortunately, the media too bought into the conspiracy unleashed by the then Opposition.

A lot of dirt was heaped on the Congress by the BJP during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. We were called names and now the truth has come out in the open. A lot of questions are being raised from several quarters after the court’s judgment. Now let’s just stick to facts. The Supreme Court appointed a special CBI court to look at 2G allocations. The SC also observed that the court would decide the matter uninfluenced by the observations in its judgment of 2012. The apex court also appointed U.U. Lalit, senior advocate, as special public prosecutor. On his elevation of a SC judge, the SC appointed Anand Grover, senior advocate, as special public prosecutor.

The entire 2G trial has been directly monitored by the SC with reports of its progress submitted to it on a monthly basis. Thus, 2G investigation was referred by the SC to the CBI; the trial was given to the special CBI judge by the SC. The public prosecutor was appointed by the SC and trial was directly monitored by the SC. The trial court was directed by the SC to decide the matter bereft of preliminary observations, in absence of a full trial, of the SC.

The special CBI court has looked at every document threadbare, examined the chargesheet running into 86,000 pages, examined over 150 witnesses, conducted the trial over a period of seven years and delivered three judgments running into 2,183 pages. These are the facts that should always be in the public domain.

The then CAG, Vinod Rai, came up with the concept of notional and preemptive loss. He pegged the figure at Rs 1.76 lakh crores. Now where is the loss? Irreparable damage has been done to the sunshine telecom sector. The telecom sector is now reeling under severe debt. The RBI said that a sectoral analysis of total borrowings by companies at the end of last fiscal revealed that the telecom sector had the “largest debt with negative profitability”. As per the central bank’s sectoral analysis, which reviewed 19 industries, reputations have been tarnished and careers have been spoilt of many people just because of this completely false propaganda.

From the very beginning it was a politically motivated case. I am surprised that if the prosecution knew that there is no admissible evidence, why did it file a chargesheet in the case? Especially when the criminal justice system is already burdened with so many cases. Such politically motivated cases burden the judicial system as the courts have to read so many case files and in the end there is no admissible evidence. Everyone is concerned about the pendency and delays in courts but no effort is made to improve investigations and not to push cases in courts which are not worth a trial and likely to fail for lack of evidence. Hence, it is clear that the entire case was motivated to target the Congress, but in the end the truth prevailed.
The writer is AICC secretary (legal and HR)

Judgment is no proof of innocence
Shivam Chhabra

It is difficult to understand why the Congress and its allies are taking pride and treating the verdict in the 2G spectrum case as a “badge of honour”. The special CBI court may have acquitted the accused UPA leaders of the charges, but the bigger questions on the policy adopted previously still need to be answered. We must not forget the Supreme Court’s ruling in February 2012. We must resolve and understand that the policy intended was to promote corruption. It was arbitrary, and all these allegations have already been upheld by the SC. Therefore, the judgment in the case does not imply the Congress and its leaders to be innocent. In fact, it is no proof of the Congress-led UPA government’s innocence.

The 2G spectrum allocation by the UPA government was completely a dishonest and corrupt policy. This was not the reading of the BJP but that of the SC. In February 2012, the SC cancelled almost 122 licences awarded in the year 2008 for a paltry `9,200 crores by the then UPA government “virtually” led by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The SC gave a ruling that these licences and subsequently, all natural resources should be allocated through auctions — a fair bidding process alone.

The SC in 2012 had come down heavily on the UPA government’s spectrum allocation policy. It went across and said that the first come, first served 2G policy was arbitrary and corrupt. It had ordered the government to change the policy to an auction-based one. The spectrum policy of the UPA government allegedly favoured a handful of bidders. The favourites were informed before the policy was tweaked. This was evident because the subsequent auctions got a much higher price than the previous bids. Hence, we can clearly say that the poor policy caused a loss.

Interestingly, the 2G spectrum allocation scam was unveiled by none other than the then CAG. A report by the CAG revealed that 2G or second generation licence for mobile networks were given at throwaway prices instead of carrying free and fair auctions. The report had said that the spectrum allocation scam caused the national exchequer a loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crores. The CAG report had said that all the demand drafts were actually backdated, thereby implying that the telecom operators had prior knowledge of licences that were to be issued.

The accused ministers and leaders, who are celebrating their acquittal, must be reminded that in the year 2012, the SC imposed a fine of Rs 5 crores each on the telecom companies and further said that A. Raja “wanted to favour some companies at the cost of the public exchequer and virtually gifted away important natural assets”. How well do you spell favouritism and corruption than this?

It is unfortunate that even after such grave revelations, the Congress and other accused ministers of the allied parties find this judgment a “reward of honesty”. The leaders not just have to prove themselves innocent in the court of law but are also answerable and accountable to the people at large. India is one of the largest democracies in the world. Unfortunately, it has been looted and exploited badly time and again by various foreign invaders, the British, followed by the Congress in the last 60 years of its governance. Since 2014, the BJP government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has delivered a transparent, honest and progressive government. We respect the judgment of the court, but wish to repeat that the Congress must not take this as a proof of its innocence. We can assure that corruption will be tackled and nailed with no exceptions. Unlike our predecessors, we are sensitive and answerable to the people at large for every rupee we spend for the people’s welfare. We hope that the investigative agencies will take a close look at the judgment and decide what has to be done next.
The writer is the BJP’s national media in-charge and spokesperson (youth wing)

Tags: 2g spectrum scam, a raja, upa government