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2G spectrum scam case trial: Delhi court to decide A Raja, Kanimozhi’s fate on Dec 21

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A-Raja

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CAG report in 2010 had estimated that 2G spectrum allocation during A Raja’s term as Union telecom minister had cost the exchequer Rs 1.76 lakh crore

A special CBI court in Delhi will, on December 21, decide the fate of former Union telecom minister A Raja, DMK chief M Karunanidhi’s daughter and Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi and a host of other high-profile accused, in three cases related to the 2G spectrum scam case.

The case pertains to the alleged irregularities in the allocation of 2G spectrum and licenses to telecom companies during the UPA-I regime of then Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh when DMK leader A Raja was the Union telecom minister.

Raja had been forced to resign from the Manmohan Singh cabinet in November 2010 after a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) claimed that the “arbitrary” allocation of 2G spectrum and licenses by Raja in 2007-2008 had led to a loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the exchequer.

Subsequent investigations into the scam by agencies like the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate had pointed to wide-ranging irregularities by Raja, DMK leaders Kanimozhi and Dayanidhi Maran and a host of head honchos of telecom companies not only in the spectrum allocation process but also in subsequent sale of the finite spectrum and licenses by some telecom companies to others, who reportedly paid a much higher price for buying the spectrum than what the original allottees had paid to the Centre.

Special CBI judge OP Saini had begun hearing three cases related to the 2G spectrum scam in April 2011. Last month, special CBI judge Saini had, at his Patiala House courtroom, postponed the date for fixing a date for the pronouncement of judgment for December 5. Two out of the three cases being adjudicated at the special CBI court have been filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) while the third has been filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

On Tuesday, in a brief order, judge Saini said: “I have perused the files and will pronounce judgement on December 21 at 10.30 a.m.” The court has also directed all accused in the case as well as the counsel for the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate to be present in the courtroom on judgement day and said that the entry into the courtroom that day will be based on a first-cum-first serve basis in the following order – accused, prosecution and the media.

Raja, who was present at the Patiala House Court premises on Tuesday said that he had “faith in the judiciary” but declined to comment on his expectations from the verdict.

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According to the CBI, which has filed two of the three cases on which judge Saini will pronounce his verdict on December 21, Raja was biased in allocating 2G spectrum waves and operating licences to telecom firms. The CBI chargesheet in the case against Raja and Kanimozhi alleges that Rs. 200 crore were transferred from DB Group to the DMK-controlled Kalaignar TV as kickbacks in lieu of allocation of 2G spectrum to Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd.

The Enforcement Directorate has filed a separate case related to money laundering, alleging that a conspiracy was hatched by Raja, Kanimozhi, DMK patriarch M. Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal and others and that Rs. 200 crore was proceeds of the crime.

On December 21, the court will also deliver its judgement in the 2G scam case against Essar and Loop telecom companies. The CBI has alleged that promoters of the Essar Group were the real investors and beneficiaries of the spectrum. Licences were issued to Loop Telecom, a front company of Essar to acquire these along with the 2G spectrum in 2008, the ED has claimed.

Politically, a guilt verdict against Raja and Kanimozhi could give a huge boost to the BJP in cornering the Congress party during the upcoming winter session of Parliament and denting the Opposition’s planned offensive against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling NDA regime. The BJP had been at the vanguard of protests against the then UPA regime when the 2G spectrum scam broke and had alleged that the irregularities were the result of then Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s inability to rein in Raja – a member of the DMK which was a key ally in the UPA coalition. The BJP had also sought to paint Manmohan Singh and the Congress as equally responsible for the scam as Raja, asserting that they were “guilty by association” with the DMK’s tainted leader.

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India News

AAP leader Sanjay Singh accuses BJP of planning an attack on Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal

The AAP leader accused PM Modi and the BJP of being immersed in hatred so much that they are conspiring to kill the Delhi Chief Minister. He added that the Prime Minister Office, BJP and PM Modi will be responsible if anything happens to Kejriwal.

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Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Sanjay Singh on Monday accused BJP of planning an attack on Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Singh was addressing a press conference in New Delhi where he said the BJP has been in a state of panic ever since Arvind Kejriwal came out of jail.

He said BJP is now plotting to launch a deadly attack on Arvind Kejriwal. This conspiracy is being conducted directly from the Prime Minister’s Office. A threat of attack on Kejriwal ji has been written at Rajiv Chowk and Patel Nagar Metro stations.

The AAP leader accused PM Modi and the BJP of being immersed in hatred so much that they are conspiring to kill the Delhi Chief Minister. He added that the Prime Minister Office, BJP and PM Modi will be responsible if anything happens to Kejriwal. He pointed out that Kejriwal had not been given insulin for 23 days when he was in judicial custody in Tihar jail.

Singh said a 3 time elected chief minister is being openly threatened with attacks and murder, and nobody is saying anything. He said AAP leaders are writing letters to the Election Commission and if Kejiriwal gets a scratch, the PMO, BJP and PM Modi will be held responsible.

The Supreme Court has given interim bail to the Aam Aadmi Party supremo till June 1 ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in New Delhi. But according to the terms of his bail, the Delhi chief minister cannot make any comments about his role in the Delhi liquor scam case.

 Kejriwal has spent over 50 days in Tihar Jail the Enforcement Directorate arrested him in an excise policy case on March 21, days after the election schedule for the general elections was announced. The bail is applicable until June 1 and Kejriwal has to surrender to authorities on June 2.

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2024 Lok Sabha Elections

36.73% voter turnout recorded till 1 pm in 5th phase of the Lok Sabha elections

36.73% voter turnout recorded till 1 pm in 8 states and UTs; Maharashtra continues to put up a poor show

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Voter turnout at 1 pm was recorded at 36.73% for the 5th phase of the Lok Sabha elections. As this unfolds, significant political showdowns are set to take place across eight states and union territories. Bihar: 34.62%, Jharkhand: 41.89%, Jammu and Kashmir: 34.79%, Maharashtra 27.78%, Ladakh: 52.01%, Uttar Pradesh 39.55%, Odisha 35.31%, West Bengal: 48.41%

Voters in 49 Lok Sabha seats will decide the fate of 695 candidates, with many high-stakes contests featuring political dynasties and senior leaders striving to retain their influence. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is contesting from Raebareli, a seat held by his mother, Sonia Gandhi, since 2004. He is also contesting the election from Wayanad in Kerala. After losing Amethi to Union Minister Smriti Irani in 2019, the Congress has fielded dedicated worker KL Sharma to challenge Irani this time.

Rohini Acharya, daughter of former Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, makes her political debut from Saran Lok Sabha seat. Chirag Paswan of the LJP (Ram Vilas) aims to retain the legacy of his late father, Ram Vilas Paswan from Hajipur Lok Sabha seat.

13 out of 48 parliamentary seats in Maharashtra are undergoing elections including high-profile candidates: Dindori: Union Minister Bharati Pravin Pawar (BJP) vs. Bhaskar Bhagare (NCP). Dhule: BJP’s Subhash Ramrao Bhamre vs. Congress’s Shobha Dinesh Bachhav.

Palghar: Hemant Vishnu Savara (BJP) vs. Bharti Kamadi (Shiv Sena UBT). Nashik: Rajabhau Waje (Shiv Sena UBT) vs. Godse Hemant Tukaram (Shiv Sena). This election phase will also serve as a crucial battleground for the factions of Shiv Sena to measure their support among voters.

In Ladakh, an independent candidate is posing a significant challenge to both BJP and Congress contenders. Simultaneous assembly and Lok Sabha polls are taking place in Odisha with the fifth phase, covering 5 Lok Sabha seats and 35 assembly constituencies. Voters in 3 parliamentary Lok Sabha seats — Chatra, Koderma, and Hazaribagh—will cast their votes in this phase.

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India News

IMD issues red alert for heavy rainfall in Kerala

The IMD issued a red alert for the districts of Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Idukki, and Alappuzha, warning residents and authorities about the potential for further heavy rains.

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The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a red alert for four districts in Kerala till May 21, after heavy pre-monsoon rainfall swept across the southern state on Sunday. The intense downpours affected numerous regions, including the state capital, Thiruvananthapuram. 

Considering the severe weather conditions, the IMD issued a red alert for the districts of Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Idukki, and Alappuzha, warning residents and authorities about the potential for further heavy rains.

The weather department has also issued an orange alert in the districts of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad, and Malappuram until May 22, forecasting isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall .

A bulletin issued by the IMD on Sunday stated that strong westerly and south-westerly winds are expected to dominate the lower levels of the state from May 19 to 23. This weather pattern is likely to result in widespread rainfall across isolated areas of Kerala from May 19 to 22. Additionally, heavy to very heavy rainfall is anticipated in isolated regions on May 23.

Given the potential hazards posed by heavy rains, the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) has urged residents to remain vigilant. The forecasted heavy rainfall over a short period raises concerns about flash floods and urban waterlogging, especially in low-lying areas. It is reported that prolonged rainfall may also lead to landslides. Consequently, authorities advised residents, particularly those in hilly and coastal regions, to exercise caution and stay alert.

Reportedly, stringent directives have been issued to the District Superintendent of Police, Sub Divisional Magistrates, Regional Transport Officers, and Tehsildars to enforce a ban on tourist movements.

Meanwhile, after the Sunday rains visuals across social media showed houses and shops in some areas were inundated. Additionally, canals traversing the capital city and its suburbs have overflowed. Affected residents claimed that the waterlogging in the capital and surrounding areas resulted from the failure to conduct pre-monsoon cleaning of canals and drainage systems.

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