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Chidambaram gets SC clean chit in 2G
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 24
The Supreme Court today absolved Finance Minister P Chidambaram of all the four charges in the 2G spectrum scam, providing a major relief to him and the Congress-led UPA at a time when the government is facing a tough time in Parliament following allegations of irregularities in the allocation of coal blocks.

“We are of the considered view that the materials on record do not show that P Chidambaram had abused his position as the Minister of Finance or conspired or colluded with A Raja,” who had allotted 122 2G licences in 2008 at 2001 prices in his capacity as telecom minister, a bench comprising Justices GS Singhvi and KS Radhakrishnan ruled in a 69-page order.

The bench delivered the verdict on Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy’s plea for making Chidambaram a co-accused in the 2G spectrum scam in which Raja is the main accused.

“No material is available even prima facie to conclude that P Chidambaram had abused his official position or used any corrupt or illegal means for obtaining any pecuniary advantage for himself or any other persons, including A Raja,” the SC held.

Similarly, no evidence was provided to show that Chidambaram had “deliberately allowed dilution of equity of two companies, Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd, which were allegedly benefited by the scam, the apex court noted.

Acknowledging that Chidambaram and Raja had held two meetings at the time of allocating the spectrum, the bench said this fact in itself was not “sufficient to infer the existence of a criminal conspiracy so as to indict” him.

On the contention that had PM Manmohan Singh and Chidambaram intervened the scam could have been avoided, the bench said “might be or might not be. A wrong judgment or an inaccurate or incorrect approach or poor management by itself, even after due deliberations between ministers or even with Prime Minister, by itself cannot be said to be a product of criminal conspiracy.”

Criminal conspiracy could not be inferred on mere fact that there were official discussions between the officers of the finance and telecom ministries and between the two ministers. “Suspicion, however strong, cannot take the place of legal proof,” the bench explained.

The SC also pointed out that Chidambaram had sent a note to the PM making it clear that spectrum was a scarce resource and its price should be based on its scarcity value and efficiency of usage. The most transparent method of allocating spectrum would be through auction.

Swamy’s plea

Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy had pleaded for making Chidambaram as a co-accused in the 2G spectrum scam case in which Raja is the main accused.





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