New Delhi, Feb 4: The petition to make Union Home Minister P Chidambaram a co-accused in the 2G scam case was dismissed by a trial court on Saturday, bringing huge relief to the senior leader and the ruling UPA government.
Judge OP Saini said the petition by Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy "stands dismissed." "I am surprised," was the immediate reaction of petitioner and Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy, who said "if I lose in one court I go and appeal in another court."
"I am not disappointed. No question of disappointment when we are in a battle royal fighting corruption," he said, adding that "I will appeal against it." "I have a very, very strong case that both Mr Chidambaram and Mr Raja made the decisions (on 2G licencing)," he said.
Swamy said Chidambaram has to be vindicated in every court. Congress also reacted. Its spokesperson Manish Tewari said there is nothing for the government to take moral responsibility on the issue.
Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal said: "We were expecting this. The allegations had political motives." "You should not have TV debates before hearing on such issues. Institutions and political credibility are being destroyed in this process," he told a TV channel, criticising the media.
Sibal also ridiculed Swamy saying the latter after high court and Supreme Court will appeal to God. Congress leader and minister Ambica Soni said the court petitions are for Swamy's political survival.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also reacted saying it is the verdict of the first court only. "In matter of 2G often the lower court verdicts were overruled by the upper courts," said BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad, adding that he would make detailed comment after going into the details of the judgement. He said that Supreme Court quashed 122 telecom licences in the 2G case cannot be ignored.
The judgement was crucial for the scam-embroiled United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government since making Chidambaram a co-accused would have been seen as a blot on not only one of the tallest and erudite leaders of Congress but also Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who would have been the next target of opposition.
Subramanian Swamy's plea was that the then finance minister during the scam-tainted 2G spectrum allocations be made a co-accused in the case with former telecom minister A Raja.
The Patiala House Court in Delhi had earlier heard the petition by Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy.
Swamy argued that documents proved that Chidambaram was as much a party to the decisions on the 2G spectrum allocations as former Telecom Minister A Raja, now in jail, and he has a lot things to answer.
Swamy contended that Chidambaram knew about everything and was the "bade ustad" (big fish) while Raja was "chote ustad" (smaller fish).
He said as finance minister it was the job of Chidambaram to control Raja from distributing the licences. Raja had kept both Chidambaram and the Prime Minister briefed on everything, Swamy said.
He said national security was compromised by allocating spectrum to companies closely associated with Pakistan.
Swamy contended that Chidambaram had informed the Prime Minister of the prerogative of the finance and telecom ministers to decide spectrum prices and that it was not possible for Raja to go ahead without the finance ministry blessings. Chidambaram's verdict came two days after a Supreme Court shocker in the 2G case.
The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered 122 telecoms licences issued under a scandal-tainted 2008 sale be revoked, delivering a decisive blow against a government that has been grappling to leave behind the fiasco that has roiled the nation for more than a year.
Even though the ruling potentially affects fewer than 5 percent of users in the world's second biggest cellular market, it applies to 122 licences held by eight operators and risks damaging investor confidence besides turning the heat back on a scam-battered coalition government.
Saying that using a first-come-first-serve policy to allocate national resources like airwaves is dangerous, and designed to benefit any one "with access to power corridors", the court came down on the process that sees former telecoms minister A Raja languish in jail, pending trial.
The scandal over the alleged allocation of telecoms licences at below-market prices, could have lost the treasury up to Rs 1.76 lakh crore, according to the government’s auditor, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).
Imposing penalties on violating firms, the apex court on Thursday said the Telecom Regulatory Authority in India (TRAI) must ensure issuance of fresh licences, allowing four months to cancel the licences and issue fresh ones by auction. Fines were imposed too on the operators.
Uninor has to pay a penalty of Rs 5 crore while Swan Telecom and Tata Telecom will also have to pay the same, media reports said. Loop, S-Tel, Allianz and Sistema Shyam have been fined Rs 50 lakh each.
The licences cancelled by the Supreme Court include 22 of Uninor, 21 of Videocon, 9 of Idea, 21 of Loop, 6 of S-Tel, 21 of Sistema, 3 of Tata Teleservices, 13 of Swan and 2 of Allianz.