2G scam: Will India apologize to telecom operators and others

mobile towerTelecom operators who shut down / trimmed operations in India may be demanding apologies from the India Government, some bureaucrats and Supreme Court following the verdict on 2G scam today by the CBI Court.

CBI Judge OP Saini today said “I have absolutely no hesitation in holding that prosecution has miserably failed to prove any charge against any accused.”

The verdict is out nearly seven years after the first arrest was made by CBI in 2011.

The scam relates to the granting of 2G spectrum license allocations in 2007-08. According to Vinod Rai, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, the 2G scam created a loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to India Government.

CBI Court has acquitted all accused in the 2G spectrum scam case, including former telecom minister A Raja, DMK leader Kanimozhi and three companies. Essar Group promoters Ravi Kant Ruia and Anshuman Ruia acquitted in the case arising out of 2G scam probe. The Court also acquitted Loop Telecom promoters IP Khaitan and Kiran Khaitan and four others.

CBI said it would file an appeal against the 2G scam case verdict by a special court, which acquitted all the 16 accused rejecting the case presented by the agency.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today cited a Supreme Court verdict to assert corruption in the UPA government’s 2G spectrum allocation policy, and mocked the Congress by saying it was treating a trial court’s acquittal of the accused in the case as a badge of honor.

As a fall out of the 2G controversy, several telecom operators including STel, Etisalat, Telenor, Aircel, MTS and Videocon were forced to shut / trim down their telecom business in India. They lost business and investment after spending huge funds for spectrum and infrastructure.

These companies started downsizing their business followed by a Supreme Court order that quashed all 122 licenses issued by the then telecom minister A Raja. Indian laws do not protect businesses if they face adverse conditions due to some mistakes by some bureaucrats of judiciary.

In 2008, telecom / shell companies received 122 new 2G licenses at a price list according to the 2001 list and on a first-come-first-serve basis.

On February 20, 2012, Supreme Court declared the allotment of the spectrum as unconstitutional and arbitrary while delivering a judgment on a PIL.

The accused

A Raja, former telecom minister of India

Kanimozhi Karunanidhi, director of Kalaignar TV

Sidharath Behura, former telecom secretary

RK Chandolia, IES officer, personal secretary to telecom minister

Sanjay Chandra, MD of Unitech

Gautam Doshi, group managing director of Reliance ADA group

Hari Nair, vice president of Reliance ADA group

Surendra Pipara, group president of Reliance ADA group

Vinod Goenka, director of Swan Telecom

Shahid Usman Balwa, managing director of Swan Telecom

Asif Balwa, director of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables

Rajiv Agarwal, director of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables

Sharath Kumar, director of Kalaignar TV

Ravi Kant Ruia, vice chairman of Essar group

Anshuman Ruia, promoter of Essar group

Vikas Saraf, director strategy at Essar

Ishwar Prasad Khaitan, promoter of Khaitan group

Kiran Khaitan, former director of Santa Trading

Karim Morani, director of MIS Cineyug Media & Entertainment

Unitech Wireless

Reliance Telecom

Swan Telecom

Loop Telecom

Loop Mobile India

Essar Teleholding

Essar Group

The 2G spectrum case is a combination of three cases – two cases were registered by the CBI and one by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The first case was registered by the CBI against the former Union Telecom Minister A Raja and others for criminal conspiracy and bending the rules to favor a select group of telecom companies.

Essar-Loop case is the second case registered by the CBI against Essar and its promoters. The third case is a money laundering case and was registered was by the ED against A Raja, other individuals and companies.

With inputs from agencies