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2G Scam: No one found guilty in law, but claimed huge political cost



2G Scam: No one found guilty in law, but claimed huge political cost

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The acquittal of every single accused in 2G scam raised the obvious question: was there a scam at all in the first place, or was it an issue raked up by the then opposition – the BJP – merely for political purposes?

There is no question that the controversy over the 2G scam – and the various others that followed, including the CWG (Commonwealth Games) scam and coal scam that followed – gave a huge boost to the BJP, forced the sacking of its ministers, landed them in jail, paralysed the Congress-led UPA government, wiped out public trust in it and built up a surge of public resentment that fuelled an anti-corruption movement and culminated in the ascendancy of BJP under Narendra Modi to power.

Then a few days earlier, while convicting former coal secretary and Jharkhand chief secretary in a case related to coal scam, the court ruled that former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh had been misled by the officers, practically clearing him of any responsibility. Meaning, the allegations against the ex-PM were false.

Now the special court set up by the Supreme Court to try the 2G scam case has acquitted all accused in the case, saying that the prosecution has not proved the charges against the accused in any of the cases. The issue relates to alleged irregularities in allocation of spectrum by the UPA government in 2008. The controversy blew up in 2009 and the first arrest was made in 2011 by the CBI.

On Thursday, Dec 21, pronouncing his order, special judge OP Saini said, “I have no hesitation in holding that record is not sufficient and the prosecution has miserably failed in proving charges. All accused are acquitted.”

The court has directed all acquitted persons to file a personal bail bond of Rs 5 lakh each to ensure their presence during appeal. CBI has been given 60 days to file an appeal.

The accused in the case include Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leaders A Raja and Kanimozhi, Raja’s ex-private secretary RK Chandolia, Reliance ADAG Group managing director Gautam Doshi, its senior vice president Hari Nair, group president Surendra Pipara, Swan telecom promoter Vinod Goenka, Unitech Ltd managing director Sanjay Chandra, Essar Group promoters Anshuman and Ravi Ruia, its director (strategy and planning) Vikas Saraf, Loop Telecom promoters Kiran Khaitan and her husband IP Khaitan, along with Loop Telecom Pvt Ltd, Loop Mobile India Ltd and Essar Tele Holding.

Reliance Telecom Ltd, Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Pvt Ltd were also among the accused.

In 2008, during A Raja’s tenure as telecom minister, 2G licenses were awarded on a first-come-first-served basis to new entrants and CDMA operators migrating to GSM technology, at the same price as in a spectrum allocation held seven years earlier.

A report submitted by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), said that 2G licences had been issued to telecom operators at throwaway prices, causing a loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the exchequer. Licences had been issued to applicants who had suppressed facts, disclosed incomplete information, submitted fictitious documents and used fraudulent means, the report said.

On 2 February 2012, the apex court cancelled 122 telecom licenses and spectrum allocated to nine companies in January 2008, holding that the process of allocation was flawed. The court directed that the spectrum or any natural resource must be auctioned.

The apex court verdict set the stage for an investigation and trial to prosecute those involved. The CBI had started investigation into alleged irregularities in spectrum allocation in 2009. In its chargesheet filed in April 2011 against Raja and others, CBI had alleged that there was a loss of Rs 30,984 crore to the exchequer in allocation of 122 licences for 2G spectrum which were scrapped by the Supreme Court on February 2, 2012.

The prosecution could not prove its charges against any of the accused in a case that rocked the country, toppled a government and was ranked by Time magazine as the second biggest instance of abuse of power in the world, after Watergate scandal. The then Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of the country had said it had caused a notional loss of a phenomenal Rs.1.76 lakh crore to the public exchequer.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1513850071156{padding-top: 5px !important;padding-right: 5px !important;padding-bottom: 5px !important;padding-left: 5px !important;background-color: #c9c9c9 !important;border-radius: 5px !important;}”]The case had put Congress and the DMK on the defensive and, as luck would have it, the verdict came on a day when Tamil Nadu sees a crucial by-poll being held in RK Nagar, late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s constituency. DMK’s Marudhu Ganesh is contesting in the by-poll.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]As big as the alleged scam, and perhaps bigger in implications, was the politics based on it. The Congress was jubilant.

Former PM Manmohan Singh says, ‘the court judgement has to be respected. I’m glad that the court has pronounced that the massive propaganda against UPA was without any foundation.'[/vc_column_text][vc_raw_html]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[/vc_raw_html][vc_column_text]Congress leader and former minister in UPA government Kapil Sibal said, “It was a scam of lies… Vinod Rai (the then CAG) should apologise.”

“It’s most unfortunate that an atmosphere of suspicion was created and Opposition gets on the bandwagon that everything the UPA did was wrong. The telecom sector is in dire straits today, thanks to Vinod Rai and the leaders of the (then) Opposition in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Our stand has been vindicated,” he said.

Another Congress leader Manish Tewari, reacting to the 2G verdict said the former CAG Vinod Rai must apologize for an ‘imbecile’ report.

“Mr Rai, former C&G, must apologise to the nation for throwing presumptive sensational corrosive numbers into public discourse. He was author of imbecile 1.76 thousand crore loss theory that I had destroyed during my cross examination of Rai in the JPC. The court has affirmed JPC report,” Tewari said.

Former junior telecom minister Milind Deora said: “The CAG report allowed BJP to mislead the nation & play the role of a highly irresponsible opposition. This won them an election, but hurt India’s competitiveness & straddled banks with ₹4 lakh crore of debt resulting from license cancellations & auctions.”

DMK chief M Karunanidhi, who has been staying away from public life due to health issues, felt pepped up enough to say, “Injustice will be defeated, good deeds will triumph.” “Aneedhi veezhum. Aram vellum,” wrote. Karunanidhi in Tamil soon after the verdict was pronounced.

DMK supporters distributed sweets in celebration in Coimbatore after the acquittal of all the accused in 2G scam verdict.

His daughter and DMK leader Kanimozhi told journalists: “There is no evidence against me and justice has been delivered.”

Kanimozhi said, “I was falsely dragged into this which definitely left me scared. Now with this behind me I’ll do all I can to strengthen the party and work for the people of Tamil Nadu. I owe a debt of gratitude to my family and party workers who were a pillar of support to me and stood by me during these six excruciating years. The last 6 years have been harrowing to say the least. To be falsely accused in a case for a notional loss of Rs176 thousand crores to appease the opposition that was stalling parliament, is atrocious.”

Terming it a historic verdict, DMK working president and half brother of Kanimozhi, MK Stalin said, “This was a politically motivated case. It was a well planned one and with false figures, they built up arguments. Now, we are extremely delighted that everyone has been acquitted. I have a request for the media. When this case started, you blew it up so much to make sure everyone knew about it, now please make sure this judgement too gets as much visibility.”

Reacting to the development BJP leader Subramanian Swamy tweeted: “Govt. must prove its bonafides by filing an immediate appeal in High Court.”

Dr Subramanian Swamy was among those who had approached the court seeking a probe into the role of the then Union Home Minister P Chidambaram in the case. However, his plea was quashed by the Supreme Court.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who had played a key role in designing the line of attack on UPA government in the case, said, “I am sure that the investigative agencies will have a close look at it (the judgement & acquittal of accused) & decide what has to be done.”

“The fact that the policy caused loss is clear form the fact that the subsequent auctions got a much higher price,” said Jaitley, according to ANI.

“Each & every case of spectrum allocation was quashed by SC (in 2012) as arbitrary & unfair, the policy was quashed as unfair & intended to cause loss to GoI & the govt was directed to have a fresh policy by which an auction would take place,” said an ANI tweet quoting Jaitley.

He further said, “Congress leaders are treating this judgement as some kind of a badge of honor & a certification that it was an honest policy. … This was a corrupt & dishonest policy, which has already been upheld by the Supreme Court in 2012,” said the ANI quoting Arun Jaitley.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

India News

Bus carrying injured passengers from Odisha train accident collides with van in Bengal town



A bus loaded with injured passengers from the Balasore train accident had to face another unfortunate accident in Medinipur, Bengal on Saturday, June 3. These passengers had sustained injuries in the triple-train crash that occurred in Odisha’s Balasore on June 2, adding to the already tragic series of events.

The bus carrying injured passengers to various districts in Bengal to provide victims with essential medical care, collided head-on with a pick-up van, leading to traffic disruptions on the National Highway in Medinipur. The collision resulted in a momentary halt as emergency responders swiftly sprung into action.

Fortunately, preliminary reports indicate that the injuries sustained by several passengers were minor in nature. The local authorities, displaying commendable efficiency, wasted no time in launching rescue operations. They coordinated the immediate transportation of the injured to different healthcare facilities across West Bengal, making sure they receive all required treatments.

The passengers who had gotten away with injuries from the earlier train accident in Balasore must have been shaken at the second incident within 24 hours. The Friday collision involved three trains: the Coromandel Express ( Kolkata-Chennai), the Yeswanthpur-Howrah Superfast Express, and a goods train. The result left a devastating toll, with at least 280 reported deaths and over 900 injuries.

Unfortunately, the collision involving the bus carrying the injured passengers and the pick-up van has further complicated the ongoing rescue efforts. However, the authorities are working tirelessly to provide the necessary assistance and care to the victims, as well as to assess the overall situation and mitigate further risks.

As the nation mourns, during these difficult times, the authorities prioritize the safety and well-being of those affected, extending their support to the victims and their families. 

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PM Modi visits Odisha train accident site, promises tough punishment for people responsible for collision

The Prime Minister met the injured passengers and assured them all the help and asked the Cabinet Secretary to provide special care so that the bereaved families are not put to inconvenience.



PM Modi with Railway minister Ashwini

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday visited the site of the train accident in Odisha’s Balasore where almost 300 died and some 700 injured. Speaking to the media, he said those guilty of the lapse that led to the accident will be punished.

PM Modi said he shared the anguish of those who have lost their near and dear. He assured the people that all possible help will be provided to the accident-hit families. He said the government will not forgive the culprits and dole out the strictest punishment to them. The Railways are working hard to restore the track, he added.

The Prime Minister met the injured passengers and assured them all the help and asked the Cabinet Secretary to provide special care so that the bereaved families are not put to inconvenience, and those who are affected should keep getting assistance from the government.

He also took stock of the relief and restoration operation on Saturday. PM Modi reached the site with Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan with other senior officials. He interacted with the disaster relief team and other railways officials as well.

Apart from the announcement by Vaishnaw of Central assistance, PM Modi announced an additional ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for the injured from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund on Friday. On the day of incident, he spoke to Vaishnaw on phone and took stock of the situation. PM Modi had been scheduled to flag off Goa’s first Vande Bharat Express but after the Odisha accident happened, he had the event postponed.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge visited the site to provide all possible relief. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, a former Railway Minister herself, also visited the site in Balasore. In Vaishnaw’s presence, she said the incident could have been avoided if the Railways had installed the anti-collision system. She announced a separate Rs 5 lakh compensation for families of those who died in the crash and Rs 1 lakh for those seriously injured, and Rs 50,000 for victims with minor injuries. She also said that West Bengal officers and doctors are on the ground for the relief work.

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India News

Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw trolled over missing Kavach after Odisha train accident

Railway minister Ashwini Vaishnav said a high-level probe panel has been set up to look into what happened exactly before the two passenger trains on different lines derailed and collided. There is another question arising on the Coromandel Express’ wrong track.



Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnav

The Odisha train accident has claimed over 280 lives leaving hundreds injured. The Railways have become targets for trolls given the number of deaths in Odisha.

The trolls have been very specific in getting after Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw since he had posted a video on the Kavach anti-collision system n which he explained in detail how the system would work to prevent collisions. Social media users asked the minister why was Kavach not installed on the stretch which saw the horrific accident. Some even demanded Vaishnaw resign. Railway spokesperson Amitabh Sharma confirmed there was no Kavach deployed on the incident route. The Kavach just might have saved so many lives.

Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnav said a high-level probe panel has been set up to look into what happened exactly before the two passenger trains on different lines derailed and collided. There are other theories for the accident with some saying the Coromandel Express was on the wrong track.

The Indian Railways had announced to implement Kavach protection system over 2000 km during 2022-23. Around 34,000 km network was planned to be brought under Kavach. With Vaishnaw’s video explaining Kavach getting viral, Trinamool Congress s leader Saket Gokhale said only 2% of the total Railway routes have been brought under Kavach.

Gokhale claimed it was mere repackaging of the anti-collision device proposed by Mamata Banerjee when she was railway minister. In 2011-12, Indian Railways under Banerjee had developed the Train Collision Avoidance System system. The Narendra Modi government typically renamed the system to Kavach only to take credit, Gokhale said.

There was no progress on deploying this crucial rail safety technology until 2019 when three companies were approved for manufacturing and installing Kavach on railway tracks, the Trinamool leader said.

On Twitter, a journalist said similar accidents have happened in the past but the then Railway Ministers like Nitish Kumar and Lal Bahadur Shastri have taken moral responsibility and resigned from the position.

The accident has drawn condolences and outrage from India and abroad. Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif tweeted that he was deeply saddened by the loss of hundreds of lives in the accident. Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau said he was broken at seeing the images from the train accident and extended his condolences to the people who lost their close ones, he said Canadians are with the people of India in this difficult time. The European Commission and Turkey have also expressed their condolences at the loss of lives in the tragedy.   

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