Buoyed by a special court judgment acquitting all accused in the 2G scam, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said it proves that the ‘massive propaganda’ against the UPA government was without any foundation.
The alleged ₹1,76,000 crore 2G scam was the cornerstone of the BJP’s campaign in the last general elections. “We respect the court’s judgment. I do not want to boast (about) anything. I think the court’s judgment has to be respected,” Dr. Singh said.
In his last press conference as Prime Minister, Dr. Singh had said that history will treat him kindly. “I am glad that the court has pronounced unambiguously that all this massive propaganda which was being done against the UPA was without any foundation,” he said.
The Congress has demanded an apology from former Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai who first flagged the alleged loss. “I have been saying from day one that there was no loss and I have been vindicated today. In fact it is Vinod Rai who must apologise to the nation,” former Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal said.
He also insisted that the BJP should apologise to the nation. “There was no case from the beginning. In fact, it was a scam of lies, there was no scam on our part. We did it in accordance with the policy prescription that we had at that point in time,” Mr. Sibal said.
Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram too hailed the judgment. “One thing is clear: the allegation of a major scam involving the highest levels of govt. was never true, not correct and that’s been proved today,” said Mr. Chidambaram.
The rest of the Opposition however had a more cautious approach. The CPI (M) politburo in a statement said the judgment raises more questions than it answers. It was well-established, the statement said, that the allocation of 2G spectrum had caused a big loss calculated to be ₹1,76,000 crore by the CAG. “The Supreme Court had indicted some of the telecom companies involved for misuse of the allocations and cancelled the licences of concerned companies. Since the CBI case and prosecution has proved inadequate, steps must be taken immediately to pursue the matter legally, so that those who are guilty are punished,” the statement read.
Many Opposition leaders in line with the Congress comment raised questions on Mr. Vinod Rai. “The CAG being a constitutional body, provided the fodder for such a propaganda. Why did the CAG use the word ‘presumptive loss.’ Mr. Rai has now been made head of the BCCI panel. This case has left a question mark on the CAG’s credibility,” CPI leader D. Raja said.
Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agarwal demanded that Mr. Rai’s role be investigated. The Trinamool Congress too blamed Mr. Rai. “It is a loss of face for the government and the BJP, because they made much of the 2G scam. Mr. Rai is totally at fault,” TMC MP Saugata Roy said.