2G Scam Verdict Might Be Damaging For the Modi Govt and BJP
Opinion - A political Tsunami has engulfed the country in the wake of the special CBI judge O P Saini acquitting all the 17 accused in the 2G case including the then Telecom minister A Raja and DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi on the ground that there was no criminality or conspiracy in the Spectrum allocation case.
Even as the judgement stunned the ruling BJP at the Centre having the portends of adversely affecting its credibility, the Congress being in the dumps electorally received a highly encouraging shot in the arm.
There is no doubt about the political equations being redefined and the war among politicians intensifying in the run up to the next general elections in 2019.
With Congressman Kapil Sibal demanding an apology from the former Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai, the voluminous judgement must have provided the latter some food for thought.
There is no doubt that the 2G verdict is damaging for the Modi government. In 2012 the Supreme Court had declared that the allocation of 2G spectrum by the Congress led UPA government was illegal and arbitrary exercise of power thus cancelling all the 122 telecom licences allotted to companies in early 2008 when Raja was the Union Communications minister.
The claim that the 2G scam was the biggest in the country's history lies in tatters. It is a setback for the NDA which had taken advantage of an all out anti-Congress narrative on the ground that the UPA leadership had indulged in unabashed corruption.
The verdict is bound to help the opposition consolidate against the NDA. Welcoming the verdict Raja, who spent nearly two years in jail, hit out against "vested interests" sensationalising fabricated allegations.
"It has been repeatedly proven that the presumptive loss to the exchequer formed the basis for the conspiracy theories was all cooked up", Raja claimed. The Congress as well as the DMK will be in a position to shake off the impression that they indulged in rampant corruption.
The Congress affirmed yet again that the spectrum allocation resulted in 'zero loss' and that its rule between 2004 and 2014 was not scam tainted as has been made out. The grand old party has had to bear the consequences of this in the elections since Modi assumed the office of Prime Minister in May 2014.
The 2G saga has brought forth certain issues that public perception and audit reports cannot be the sole basis for criminal trials. The investigating agencies must carefully sift the available material before deciding to prosecute. Eliminating graft from public life is not about making allegations stick during election time but also about meticulous investigation and efficient prosecution.
The CBI's image as a premier investigative agency has taken a beating. It has raised serious questions about the manner in which CBI conducts its investigations. The special CBI court took exception to the agency relying on conjectures and speculation.
There is also a cloud over the present government's commitment to fighting corruption. Questions have been raised in the social media whether the Modi government triumphed in the 2014 general elections on false accusations of corruption.
The verdict is also highly embarrassing for the office of the CAG as it alleged a presumptive loss of a whopping Rs 1.76 lakh crores in the coal scam case.
Pushed to the wall as it were in the wake of the alleged mind boggling scam, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh refrained from boasting emphasising the judgement speaks for itself. "The massive propaganda unleashed against the UPA was without any foundation," maintained Singh.
Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley contended that the 2G Spectrum allocation was a policy designed to promote corruption. The Central Bureau of Investigation wasted no time in saying it will move the High Court against the acquittals.
The timing of the verdict is significant coming as it does after the Gujarat elections, the home state of Modi, and before the upcoming assembly election in Karnataka in the first half of next year.