Former Telecom Minister A Raja, Kanimozhi, 15 Others Acquitted in 2G Case: 10 Points

2G Scam Case Verdict: The 2G scam was among the major corruption scandals that came to light during the second term of the UPA government headed by Dr Manmohan Singh. It provided fuel to the opposition charges of corruption against the government.

Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi after being acquitted in the 2G scam case on Thursday.

NEW DELHI:  Former telecom minister A Raja and M Kanimozhi of the DMK and 15 others were acquitted today of charges in what was described as India's biggest telecom scandal, the "2G scam". The judge said investigators could not prove that Mr Raja, along with officials from companies that won the licenses for telecom services, had conspired to receive kickbacks from the sale of phone permits, causing a loss of Rs. 1.76 lakh crore to the government. The case became the centerpiece of allegations of egregious corruption on then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's watch. But as the Congress called it a vindication of their government, the ruling BJP has pointed out that the Supreme Court had accepted that there was corruption and cancelled all 122 licenses handed out by Mr Raja.

Here are the top 10 updates in the 2G scam case verdict:

1.    1After some delay over a large crowd that made it difficult for the 17 accused to enter the court, the judge took just a few moments to pronounce the verdict, reading out the operative part: "I have no hesitation in holding that the prosecution has miserably failed to prove the charges and all the accused are acquitted of the charges."

2.    A Raja, who had defended himself in court and cross-examined all the witnesses, was in tears. So were his family members. The former minister spent nearly one year in prison after his arrest in 2011.

3.    M Kanimozhi, the daughter of DMK chief M Karunanidhi, told NDTV: "Justice has prevailed."

4.    The "2G" trial began in 2011, a year after the national auditor said in its report that there had been massive irregularities in the allocation of second generation or 2G licences when Mr Raja was minister. The auditor said licences were given to telecom operators in 2007-2008 at throwaway prices without a free and fair bidding process.

5.    Top Congress leaders called the verdict a vindication of the party-led government. "Our zero loss theory on 2G spectrum allocation has been vindicated," said former minister Kapil Sibal.

6.    Named along with Mr Raja in the scandal were the promoters and top executives of some of India's best-known telecoms including the one owned by Anil Ambani's conglomerate.

7.    The CBI had alleged that a 200-crore bribe paid by a telecom operator to Mr Raja was deposited in a TV channel in Chennai that is owned in part by Kanimozhi, the daughter of DMK chief M Karunanidhi.

8.    Last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited M Karunanidhi at his home in Chennai in a surprise move. The timing was crucial. Political parties have been speculating whether the house call was intended to signal that the DMK is not a pariah for the BJP, which has been exploring avenues to expand its slim presence in Tamil Nadu.

9.    The 2G scam was among the major corruption scandals that came to light during the second term of Dr Manmohan Singh's coalition government.

10.   The same judge earlier this year acquitted Dayanidhi Maran, another DMK leader who was Mr Raja's predecessor as Telecom Minister, of corruption during his term. Mr Maran had been accused by the CBI of misusing his office to force the sale of mobile carrier Aircel to an entrepreneur in Malaysia in exchange for a bribe that was disguised as an investment of 200 crores in a media empire owned by the minister's brother.

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