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Friday, July 19, 2024

Durbar Wins Again…..for now – 2G Scam Accused Let Off By Trial Court

The much awaited 2G scam verdict by a special CBI court has disappointed many across the country. As reported, the court observed that the prosecution had failed to prove its charges against all the accused (including former telecom minister A Raja and senior DMK leader Kanimozhi) as a result of which all were acquitted.

Congress was quick to pounce on this verdict to claim that all charges of corruption against the UPA Government were fabricated and that they stand vindicated after today’s judgement.

But is the Congress claim that this verdict by the special court means that there was no illegality or corruption during UPA rule, and especially with regards to 2G spectrum allocation, true?

For that, lets consider the 2G Scam timeline –

In 2012, the SC had scrapped the 122 2G licenses allocated and termed the Department of Telecom and Telecom Minister’s actions “wholly arbitrary, capricious and contrary to public interest.”

Courtesy: The Hindu

So, the highest court of the land has confirmed that the spectrum allocation process was definitely questionable. Now, anyone with a functioning brain knows that when a precious resource is allocated in arbitrary fashion, there must be quid pro quo involved – some mota maal must have exchanged hands. The 2012 SC judgement is enough to surmise that a scam occurred, but the next (and biggest) challenge was to prove it….to uncover the money trail.

This is where the prosecuting agencies and the Government’s lawyers have failed, going by Judge OP Saini’s verdict today.

It is clear that the chargesheets against both Raja and Kanimozhi were filed before the current NDA Govt. under PM Modi was sworn in on 26 May, 2014. But couldn’t the Modi Government have filed a fresh chargesheet? While there are cogent arguments, including a 2009 SC judgement restricting scope of filing fresh charge-sheet / re-investigation after a charge-sheet has been filed, clearly the Government could have taken some steps if they felt the chargesheets filed before May 2014 were compromised.

It is here that we need to question PM Modi’s legal team – law is one area which the PM has left completely up to Arun Jaitley, considered the most seasoned legal mind in BJP and the senior-most cabinet minister. It was at Jaitley’s recommendation that Mukul Rohatgi was brought in as the first attorney-general by this Government.

This is what Rohatgi, who has represented some of the accused (like Essar group) in the case, had to say after today’s verdict.

This is what the judge had to say about the gradual deterioration in prosecution’s approach to the case.

Of course, those involved closely with uncovering the scam and tracking this case, have also questioned the quality of today’s verdict –

CBI’s general track-record and ability to function independently, free from the pulls and pressures of an entrenched Lutyens’ ecosystem, has also been questioned –

Many Modi & BJP supporters on social media are voicing their disappointment, and justifiably so, with the verdict and the way Government law officers and investigating agencies have handled it.

This open voicing of concern and questioning of a leader who is allegedly blindly worshipped by his ‘bhakts’, is in stark contrast to the cringe-inducing servitude displayed towards the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty by Congress supporters.

And predictably, some Modi supporters and voters, are also proclaiming that the 2G verdict setback is enough to make them abstain from voting in 2019.

But is that a solution? Or will it mean squandering the hard fought gains of the last 3.5 years, and land us back to where we were in 2012 – reeling under mega-corruption scams, shackled by policy paralysis and sitting ducks in face of internal and external security threats?

That Modi represents the best bet to save this nation from the certain chaos that awaits us if the Congress under a Nehru-Gandhi dynast or a disjointed ‘secular’ coalition were to come to power, is a no-brainer.

But at the end of the day, Modi is just a vehicle towards the larger goal of a resurgent Bharat. This 2G verdict offers an opportunity to Modi to reconsider some of his personnel selections – he must keep his personal equations, and possible even some deeply-held convictions, aside, and make some course corrections.

The Luytens’ ecosystem is deeply entrenched and upper echelons of BJP are not immune to its charms. If Modi wants to go down in history as a truly bold reformer, he must take this ecosystem head on.

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