The DMK which was dogged by the 2G Spectrum allocation case that cost it two Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu because of the involvement of party founder M Karunanidhi's daughter K Kanimozhi and Telecom Minister in the UPA Government A Raja, today hailed the acquittal of all the accused by a special CBI court in New Delhi as a triumph of justice.
A visibly relieved Kanimozhi, flanked by her husband Aravind, told reporters in New Delhi that "justice has prevailed and truth has triumphed "and her anxious wait for six years to clear her name had come to an end.
She said that her step-brother and DMK working president M K Stalin telephoned her to convey his greetings. She said she also spoke to her family members back in Chennai.
Stalin, conveyed the news to Karunanidhi. He later told reporters that a beaming Karunanidhi held his hands and that of party general secretary K Anbazhagan.
Asked the case would have a bearing in the RK Nagar which has gone to polls today, Stalin said it had nothing to do with the case and that not only would the DMK win, but "both the AIADMK and the breakaway T T V Dinakaran group will lose their deposits".
Kanimozhi was implicated as the brain behind Raja in the allocation of spectrum to telecom companies.
Raja, who allocated spectrum to telecom companies by changing the rules in the last minute from first-come-first-served to first-come-first pay and awarded licenses to companies that came with bank drafts in their hand, was ignored by the party because the Supreme Court had quashed all the 122 licences given by him on the ground of procedural irregularities.
The case was based on the report of Comptroller and Audit-General Vinoth Rai that auctioning the spectrum in 2007-08 on the basis of 2001 prices had resulted in a loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore.
However, the CBI failed to prove criminality, much less kickback in this though one of the beneficiary company had allegedly paid Rs 200 crore as quid pro quo to Kalaignar TV in which Kanimozhi was a director for a short while. After the scam came to light, the money was paid back with interest. As her lawyer pointed out, Kanimozhi was not on the board when the payment was made and even this payment was made by cheque.
A Raja, who resigned in 2011as Minister in the wake of the scam was later arrested. He spent nearly a year in jail before applying for bail. Being a lawyer, Raja defended himself in the court. When the judge pronounced his order, Raja was in tears.
Special Judge O P Saini, while acquitting all the 17 accused, said the prosecution had "miserably failed" to prove that Raja along with officials from companies that won the licenses for telecom services, had conspired to receive kickbacks from the sale of phone permits.
Saini said" "In the beginning, the prosecution started with the case with great enthusiasm and ardour. However, as the case progressed, it became highly cautious and guarded in its attitude making it difficult to find out as to what prosecution wanted to prove. However, by the end, the quality of prosecution totally deteriorated and it became directionless and diffident. Not much is required to be written as the things are apparent from the evidence itself".
This is the second case in which DMK bigwigs have got acquitted.
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. Maran had been accused by the CBI of misusing his office to force the sale of mobile firm Aircel to an entrepreneur in Malaysia in exchange for investment in the Sun TV network owned by the Dayanathi and Kalainidhi Marans.
The Modi government is expected to go in appeal against the trial court verdict as it has touted 2 G as one of the major scams of the ten-year UPA rule .