Relief for Chidambaram

NEW DELHI — In major relief for Finance Minister P Chidambaram, the Supreme Court on Friday rejected Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy’s plea to make him co-accused along with former communications minister A Raja in the 2G spectrum allocation case.


Published: Sat 25 Aug 2012, 11:30 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 9:54 AM

Rejecting Swamy’s plea, the apex court bench of Justices G S Singhvi and S K Radhakrishnan said the material made available by the petitioner did not support the allegation.

Swamy had moved the apex court challenging a February 4 order by a trial court rejecting his plea to make Chidambaram co-accused and seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe against him.

Allegations of wrongdoing by Chidambaram, which has not been accepted by the apex court, relates to his tenure as finance minister during the first stint of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

Pronouncing the judgment, Justice Radhakrishnan said on the basis of the material placed on record, no prima facie case was made out against Chidambaram for allegedly entering into a conspiracy with Raja for allocating 2G licences in 2008 at 2001 prices.

The court said that a mere meeting between Chidambaram and Raja could not be seen as a conspiracy. There is nothing to show that Chidambaram abused his position to favour anybody, it said.

The court said there was nothing to show that Chidambaram allowed dilution of equity by two cellular operators for any pecuniary gain.

Rejecting the petition by Swamy and an application by NGO Centre for Public Interest and Litigation (CPIL), the court said no wrong has been proved against the finance minister.

Referring to the Department of Telecom (DoT) plea seeking another extension of time for commencing the auction of 122 cancelled 2G licences, the court said the affidavit should come from the DoT secretary. The court took exception to the fact that the affidavit was signed by an undersecretary.

The government has sought time till November 12 for commencing the auction of 2G licences and another 40 days for the completion and allocation of licences.

The first extension given by the apex court ends August 31. Meanwhile, Subramaniam Swamy today said he will seek a review of the Supreme Court judgement dismissing his petition in the 2G spectrum case against Finance Minister P Chidambaram. “I will seek a review of the judgement. I did not talk about conspiracy. I spoke about loss to the nation,” Swamy said outside the Supreme Court shortly after his petition was rejected. “It is a bad judgement. The Supreme Court never allowed me to complete my submissions,” he told reporters. He said the court has given its verdict on issues which he never raised and not touched on the important aspect of huge loss to the nation.

The government quickly came out in strong defence of Chidambaram. “Chidambaram has nothing to do with 2G case. Swamy is always involved in filing these kind of petitions. So, there is no ground for his petition. We will face him legally and politically if he tries to malign the Congress party,” Minister of State in the PMO V Narayanasamy said.

Even if Subramaniam Swamy files a review petition in the apex court, it will be dismissed as he has no case, the minister said.

Welcoming the apex court’s verdict, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni criticised Swamy’s decision to file a review petition.

“He (Swamy) is doing this to be always in the news. It’s just wastage of court’s time. Earlier also the court had dismissed his appeal against our party colleague (Chidambaram) on the ground that there is no evidence against him in the 2G case,” Soni said.

Law Minister Salman Khurshid said, “I certainly can express great satisfaction on the judgement. I had great conviction from the beginning and the court has also accepted our arguments in the case.”

He said that this was Swamy’s second failed attempt to make Chidambaram a co-accused in 2G case. “I think that one should allow the Supreme Court to take a final call on something”.

BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, however, said that the government should not be so happy as they got a reprieve in the case only on technical grounds.

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