Blame on bureaucrats and not politicians in 2G scam

DMK MP Kanimozhi arrives at the Patiala House for the verdict in the 2G scam case on Thursday

Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi arrives at the Patiala House court for the 2G scam verdict on Thursday. | PTI

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, whose image took a battering due to the 2G spectrum allocation scandal, on Thursday said the CBI special court's judgement acquitting all accused has proved that all the "massive propaganda against the UPA was without any foundation".

From the time the 2G scam was exposed almost a decade ago, the brilliant, painstaking reportage of Shalini Singh (first for The Times of India, then for The Hindu) and J Gopikrishnan (for The Pioneer) pointed out that the real culprits in subverting the 2G telecom licence policy from first-come-first-served to first-pay-first-served were the respective high commands of the Congress and the DMK.

The acquittal of all the accused in the 2G case by a special court on Thursday triggered a major political slugfest between the BJP and the Opposition.

We had expected that the Prime Minister, sensing the gravity of the situation, would leave his "raj hatt","Congress leader Anand Sharma said".

Judge Saini said that CBI's arguments in this regard were advanced just to "prejudice" the mind of the court. "The BJP maligned the country and the Congress for years by making false allegations of corruption as their principal strategy to gain power", said a statement issued by the Congress.

During the 2007-08 2G telecom licence allocations, it was Chatterjee who, as justice Saini observed in his order, held back crucial information from Raja's letter to Manmohan Singh about a drastic change in the licencing policy to first-pay-first served. "It is up to the Prime Minister to decide". "It was much easier and better for him to read and understand the letter of A Raja rather than this note of Pulok Chatterjee", it said.

In an indictment of Chatterjee and Nair for confusing matters thereon and accused them of giving the then prime minister a "partial view" of matter and "ignoring the most important and controversial issue of new licences".

It said that it was not clear from the record whether the note was seen by the then prime minister or not.

The court noted that somebody from the PMO had given a go-ahead to the DoT for the issue of new licenses and most probably it was Pulok Chatterjee himself, as his note records that he had spoken to Secretary (T). "This was done only when the controversy broke out after issue of LOIs on January 10, 2008".

The court also dealt with the CBI's allegations that Raja had misled Singh on the issue of opinion of the law ministry to refer the issue to the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM).

"It is not a question of ego, it is the responsibility of the Prime Minister to protect the dignity of the former Prime Minister, Vice-President, army chief, foreign minister, diplomats".

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