2G verdict: BJP lied, says Cong; ruckus in Parl; top 10 developments

Opposition members protest inside the Lok Sabha in New Delhi during the ongoing winter session of Parliament
A special court on Thursday acquitted all the accused in the alleged 2G scam, giving a major relief to former Telecom Minister A. Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi who were jailed on charges of taking kickbacks to issue the telecom spectrum and licences in 2008 at throwaway prices. Special Judge O.P. Saini said the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate had failed to provide sufficient evidence to prove the charges against 33 persons named in the case that contributed to the Congress-led UPA' electoral loss in 2014. A war of words broke out between the UPA and the NDA immediately after the 2G case verdict was out on Thursday. Former PM Manmohan Singh said that the court's verdict has proved that the 2G scam was a "massive propaganda against the UPA", while finance minister Arun Jaitley slammed Congress for treating the 2G verdict as a badge of honour.

Here are top 10 developments

1. Highlights of the verdict

a. The chargesheet of the instant case is based mainly on misreading, selective reading, non-reading and out of the context reading of official records.

b. There is no evidence on the record produced before the court indicating any criminality in the acts allegedly committed by the accused persons relating to fixation of cutoff date, manipulation of first-come-first-serve policy.

c. No understanding of the official notes by outside agency (CBI) creates an impression of wrongdoing.

d. Guidelines have been framed in such technical language that meaning of many terms are not clear even to DoT officers, how can they blame companies/others for violation of the same.

2. DMK celebrates 2G verdict

DMK leader M.K. Stalin welcomed as "historic" the court ruling. Stalin told reporters: "A historic judgement has been given... The case was filed in 2009. (It) was filed to defame and obliterate a political party." Hundreds of DMK activists trooped to the party headquarters here and celebrated the verdict. They burst firecrackers and distributed sweets. Others in the DMK, including P. Siva, as well as Congress leaders too, expressed happiness over the verdict.

Puducherry Chief Minister and Congress leader V Narayanasamy said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) gained political mileage due to its false campaign against Congress and DMK.

Tamil Nadu: DMK workers celebrate in Coimbatore after Patiala House Court acquitted all in #2GScamVerdict pic.twitter.com/9LttRdjZyV

— ANI (@ANI) December 21, 2017

3. A Raja's family, Kanimozhi burst in tears after verdict

After A Raja was found not guilty of conspiring and executing what has been described as one of India's biggest scams, his wife and daughter broke down in court. Along with Raja, who is a former telecom minister, M Kanimozhi, the daughter of DMK chief M Karunanidhi, was also acquitted. The party said "Victory begins now. With political motives this case was put in us. Conspiracies were hatched against us but all have been blown away now".

Kanimozhi was in tears in court and later said: I would love to thank everyone who stood by me.

Welcoming the court verdict acquitting him and all accused in the 2G spectrum allocation case, then Telecom Minister A. Raja said he was happy with the court order. "I am happy with the court order," Raja told reporters after pronouncement of the verdict.

4. History may treat Manmohan Singh fairly

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, whose image took a battering due to the 2G spectrum allocation scandal, said the verdict had proved that all the "massive propaganda against the UPA was without any foundation". "I don't want to boast. I think the court's judgment has to be respected, and I am glad the court has pronounced unambiguously that all this massive propaganda against the UPA was without any foundation."

Congress leader Kapil Sibal, who took over the Telecom Ministry after Raja's resignation, called the verdict a "moral and legal victory" for the UPA. "We will ask those who raised allegations against us to apologise," Sibal said, urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stop raising the issue now. "Manmohan Singh and the UPA government stand vindicated today."

Sibal, who had maintained that there was zero loss to the exchequer, sought an apology from Vinod Rai who as then CAG had in his telecom audit report highlighted the loss Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the state exchequer.

5. 'Congress's 2G spectrum policy was corrupt and dishonest'

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley slammed the Congress for treating the 2G spectrum scam case verdict as a "badge of honour", saying the UPA's policy of spectrum allocation was "corrupt and dishonest". "Congress leaders are treating this judgement as some kind of a badge of honour and a certification that it was an honest policy," Jaitley told reporters outside Parliament. "This was a corrupt and dishonest policy, which has already been upheld by the Supreme Court in 2012," he said.

Jaitley leader said that in 2007-08 spectrum was not allocated on the basis of auction but on the price discovery mode made in 2001. Jaitley alleged that spectrum was given on the basis of "first-come-first-serve basis which was meant to serve a selected few". "The first-come-first-serve policy then got converted to first-come-first-pay," he alleged.

Arnab Goswami, I debated the 2G with you when you were with @TimesNow, a cowering puppet in the hands of the #BJP running an anti-Congress/ UPA propaganda. If you have the guts, call me now. @republic

— Sanjay Jha (@JhaSanjay) December 21, 2017

Was cong Govt punished needlessly by media hype on 2G?Ought it to hv exited on this issue? Shd ex CAG apologise?was court monitoring overdone? Shd persecutors apologise to accuses for misleading hype? Great victory 4uninfluenced justice nt scared by media or compulsion to conform

— Abhishek Singhvi (@DrAMSinghvi) December 21, 2017

Now that all the LIES regarding 2G 'scam' have been exposed.. question is, all those who propagated this lie and falsely accused the Congress.. will they apologize??? #CongressIsClean

— Hasiba (@HasibaAmin) December 21, 2017

After the 2G judgement by the Special Court

0 gain for BJP

My position vindicated

— Kapil Sibal (@KapilSibal) December 21, 2017

The truth stands vindicated. Allegations of scam in 2G allocations were manufactured. The author of presumptive loss of Rs 1.76 lk cr have been generously rewarded by the BJP govt, political beneficiary of the malicious campaign for targeting & defaming the @INCIndia & UPA govt.

— Anand Sharma (@AnandSharmaINC) December 21, 2017

As a former minister for Telecom & IT, I refused to pass judgement on the 2G ‘scam’. I wish CAG & the press had done the same, that the special court delivered justice sooner & that CBI & other agencies are held accountable for serious acts of omission

— Milind Deora (@milinddeora) December 21, 2017

The CAG report allowed BJP to mislead the nation & play the role of a highly irresponsible opposition. This won them an election, but hurt India’s competitiveness & straddled banks with ₹4 lakh crore of debt resulting from license cancellations & auctions

— Milind Deora (@milinddeora) December 21, 2017
6. Blow for BJP?

The 2G verdict may be bad for the BJP as it prepares for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. It not only weakens its anti-corruption plank against the second term of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government but also strengthens the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), currently an ally of the Congress.

The BJP and the Narendra Modi-led central government, during its three-and-a-half years of rule, have continued to use the 2G scam as the centrepiece of their corruption plank against the UPA government’s second term in office. After the verdict that acquitted former telecom minister A Raja and DMK Rajya Sabha MP M Kanimozhi, the spectre of 2G as a symbol of Congress and DMK corruption would lose its lustre.

"2G Scam acquittal has shaken the very foundation of our justice system.

BJP Govt owes an explanation why CBI could not collect prosecutable evidences ? Has BJP govt colluded with accused ?

BJP should tell to the nations about the DEAL"- @ashutosh83B #2GScamVerdict pic.twitter.com/jaV69XUwhr

— AAP (@AamAadmiParty) December 21, 2017

7. Rajya Sabha adjourned

The Rajya Sabha was adjourned till 2 p.m. on Thursday after Congress leaders created pandemonium over Prime Minister Narendra Modi's remarks against his predecessor Manmohan Singh and also due to the 2G verdict. "Till yesterday (Wednesday) we had been demanding the Prime Minister's clarification on his remarks against Manmohan Singhji but today another incident took place and now we want clarification on both the issues," Leader of Opposition Ghulam Azad said.

"They should now prove on which basis they had alleged that there was a scandal of Rs 1.76 lakh crore. Through false campaign, an environment against UPA was created and was the reason we are here in the opposition benches and you are there in treasury benches". The Chairman requested Azad not to speak over the issue as he had not given any notice but he continued. The Congress members then trooped near the Chairman's podium and started sloganeering.

8. ED to knock doors of high court armed with evidence

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) will appeal against the judgement of the special court that acquitted 19 people in the 2G spectrum allocation money laundering case, agency sources said.

They said the agency will study the order and will knock on the doors of the high court armed with their evidence and investigation.

Sources said it has to be seen if the ED case has been rejected by the court merely because the predicate offence probe of CBI has been rejected or there were other reasons to do so.

9. Will decide on next course of action

The CBI said it will decide on its future course of action after reading the detailed judgement of the special court.

"We are waiting for the detailed judgement. Once we receive the copy we will examine it and take legal opinion and then decide on our next course of action," Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) spokesperson Abhishek Dayal said.

10. Unitech, D B Realty rally up to 20% after 2G case verdict

Shares of companies linked to the 2G spectrum scam case surged up to 20 per cent today after a special court acquitted all the accused.

Unitech surged 19.91 per cent, D B Realty 19.89 per cent, Reliance Communications 13.49 per cent and Sun TV Network 5.98 per cent on the BSE. Besides them, three telecom firms -- Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd (STPL), Reliance Telecom Ltd and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd -- were acquitted in the case.

ALSO READ: D B Realty, Unitech, Sun TV Network surge upto 20% post 2G verdict

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