The supplementary charge sheet in the 2G spectrum allocation case is a small but significant step for the Central Bureau of Investigation in what is clearly a difficult journey in pursuit of truth and justice. The first charge sheet kept out some sensitive names for reasons of political expediency. The second deals mostly with one money trail, involving about Rs.200 crore, from Swan Telecom to Kalaignar TV, which is but a small part of the Rs.22,000 crore that the CBI estimates to be the loss to the government in the spectrum scam. However, in the context of the criminal investigation of the case, this money trail plays a crucial role by laying bare an intricate web of financial transactions which, decoded, could establish a quid pro quo between politicians in power and businessmen who benefited from the manipulation of the ‘first-come, first-served' policy in spectrum allocation. True, Kalaignar TV paid back the amount with interest, but this was only between December 2010 and February 2011 after the CBI registered the case, which seemed more like a cover-up attempt. Moreover, during the period of the transaction between December 2008 and August 2009, the paid-up equity of Kalaignar TV was merely Rs.10.01 crore, and its entire income for the year ending March 31, 2009 Rs.47.54 crore. Not surprisingly, the judge of the Special Court, taking cognisance of the charge sheet, said he was satisfied that there was “enough incriminating material on record to proceed against the accused persons.”
While questions have been raised about the non-inclusion of Dayalu Ammal, wife of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, who owns 60 per cent of the shares in Kalaignar TV, the CBI's reasoning is that the octogenarian had informed the board of directors as far back as July 27, 2007 of her inability to “give any attention to the company's affairs.” Because of her “age and non-understanding of any language other than Tamil,” she had told the board of directors, she would attend its meetings “only to suffice the legal requirement to have quorum.” In the case of Ms Kanimozhi, although she was not a director, the charge sheet names her as a co-conspirator alleging a strong association with A. Raja in “official/political matters.” It was important for the CBI to demonstrate to the Supreme Court of India, which is monitoring this investigation, and the public that there would be no let-up in the investigation under political pressure. But given the nature and size of the scam and the time lost, the agency will need to discover and pursue other money trails to carry the investigation through to its logical end. The question on everyone's lips, ‘where did the rest of the money go?', needs some quick and decisive answers.