The 2G scam anticlimax

The BJP seems to be going through a bad patch now. Close on the heels of an electoral victory nothing much to write home about in Gujarat, has come the verdict in the Rs. 30,000 crore 2G scam which was one of the main propaganda planks of the BJP against the Congress in the 2014 Lok Sabha poll. Judge O. P. Saini of the Special CBI Court trying the case has acquitted all the nineteen accused in the case, saying: “I have absolutely no hesitation in holding that prosecution has miserably failed to prove any of the charges against any of the accused.” Prominent among the accused were former Telecom Minister A. Raja, a leader of the DMK and Kanimozhi, daughter of the DMK supremo K. Karunanidhi.
A thoroughly embarrassed and flabbergasted BJP has fielded Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to save its face by claiming that the verdict is “no proof of the UPA Government’s innocence.” The Congress which had been claiming from the very beginning that there was no irregularity, no corruption involved in allotting the 2G spectrum to different telecom companies, now says it stands fully vindicated. The allegation was that the allottee companies were grossly undercharged, suggesting a sub rosa deal between the UPA-led Centre and the companies concerned. The Congress, with its tail up, has gone on to demand the prosecution of former CAG Vindo Rai for his “excuses and cover-ups”. 
The judgment is embarrassing for the BJP because the CBI is now under it. If the investigating agency has failed to produce incontrovertible and clinching evidence before the CBI Court, the Congress cannot be accused of string-pulling. The Centre has directed the CBI to appeal against the verdict in a higher court. Usually the agency takes a long time to study verdicts in such cases before deciding whether to go in appeal or not. But in this case it announced immediately after the verdict was given that it would go on appeal. Naturally, because that is the only course open to the BJP to prevent the Congress from making the 2G scam acquittal a major issue in the coming State assembly polls in the BJP-ruled States like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. An appeal in a higher court will at least effectively block the Congress from making a sub judice case an electoral issue. But the CBI Special Court judgment has certainly caused a huge embarrassment to the Prime Minister and his party.

Monday, 25 December, 2017