National

2G case verdict: The brain behind the deadline - ‘It was not Raja’

Congress workers hold a protest against the BJP on the 2G case in New Delhi on Friday.

Congress workers hold a protest against the BJP on the 2G case in New Delhi on Friday.   | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

‘The date was actually the result of an internal discussion in the department to dispose of a limited number of applications in the first phase’

The Special CBI Court that acquitted former Union Telecom Minister A. Raja has ruled that he was not responsible for either fixing a cut-off date for consideration of applications for Unified Access Services Licences or in altering a press release in a way that favoured two particular companies.

 

In his 1,552-page judgment, Special Judge O.P. Saini has absolved Mr. Raja of the charge of conspiracy by rejecting the testimony of senior officers who sought to put the blame on Mr. Raja for introducing September 25, 2007, as the cut-off date for applications and for the deletion of a paragraph from the release that appeared to indicate a change in the spectrum allocation policy.

Four senior officers deposed in “different and contradictory” tone and also “contrary to the record”, the judge said.

No material on record

“There is no material on record in the testimony of these four witnesses that the date of 25.09.2007 was arrived at by Sh. A. Raja alone and that too as a result of conspiracy with other accused.”

 

It was the prosecution’s case that this cut-off date was suggested by Mr. Raja to accommodate the applications of Swan Telecom and Unitech for grant of UAS licences and allocation of spectrum.

This date was actually the result of an internal discussion in the department to dispose of a limited number of applications in the first phase, keeping the limited availability of spectrum in mind, the court held.

On the controversy that Mr. Raja deleted a paragraph in a press release that had been cleared by the Solicitor-General, and this change amounting to a shift in the first-come, first-served policy from consideration on the basis of date of application to date on which payment of entry fee was made, the court backed the defence completely.

 

“I do not find any merit in the submission of the prosecution that amendment in the press release led to redefining the concept of first come, first served on the basis of priority from submission of compliance to LOIs (Letters of Intent) against the established practice of priority from the date of receipt of application. The procedure was changed not by the press release, but after discussions in the department,” Mr. Saini said.

This was as suggested by officers of the Department of Telecommunications, and ultimately conveyed to Prime Minister on December 26, 2007.

PM in the loop

“It was rightly conveyed to the Hon’ble Prime Minister and the DoT that the policy had the concurrence of learned S-G. Thus, placing of this letter on the record of DoT was an official act and not conspiratorial one,” the judge said.

A letter from the Editor


Dear reader,

We have been keeping you up-to-date with information on the developments in India and the world that have a bearing on our health and wellbeing, our lives and livelihoods, during these difficult times. To enable wide dissemination of news that is in public interest, we have increased the number of articles that can be read free, and extended free trial periods. However, we have a request for those who can afford to subscribe: please do. As we fight disinformation and misinformation, and keep apace with the happenings, we need to commit greater resources to news gathering operations. We promise to deliver quality journalism that stays away from vested interest and political propaganda.

Support Quality Journalism
Related Topics
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 3:28:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/the-brain-behind-the-deadline-it-was-not-raja/article22261492.ece

Next Story