SC dismisses plea against Chidambaram in 2G case

116NEW DELHI: In a huge relief to Finance Minister P Chidambaram, the Supreme Court today dismissed a plea for making him a co-accused in the 2G spectrum case, saying there was no prima facie material against him of any criminal conspiracy or procuring of any pecuniary gain.

“No case is made out against P Chidambaram and the special leave petition filed against the judgment of the special CBI court is not liable to be entertained.

Accordingly, the SLP is rejected,” a bench comprising justices G S Singhvi and K S Radhakrishnan said.

The petition was filed by Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy seeking a direction for a probe against Chidambaram and for making him a co-accused along with former Telecom Minister A Raja.

Dismissing his plea, the bench said, criminal conspiracy cannot be inferred merely on the suspicion that there was a meeting for taking decision between the officials of department of telecom and two ministers – Raja and Chidambaram, who was then also Finance Minister.

The bench said there was “no prima facie material” that Chidambaram got any pecuniary benefit nor was there any material on record to prove that he, as the then Finance Minister, abused his official position.

The judges said that the poor management in allocation of spectrum cannot be said to be a product of criminal conspiracy.

This is the second time a judicial relief has come for Chidambaram after a Delhi court on February 4 this year had dismissed a plea of a co-accused in the 2G case.

Special CBI Judge O P Saini had held that Chidambaram had not indulged in any criminal conspiracy or derived any pecuniary advantage in the decisions taken with Raja.

Giving a clean chit to the finance minister in the allocation of 2G spectrum in 2008, Saini had said Chidambaram was party to only two decisions – keeping spectrum prices at 2001 level and dilution of equity by two companies – which “are not per se criminal”. The decision of the apex court came on the petitions filed by Swamy and an NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation.

The court had reserved its order on April 24 on the maintainability of the plea for probe against Chidambaram in the 2G case.

Swamy had moved the apex court on February 23 challenging the trial court order refusing to make Chidambaram an accused in the case.

Swamy, in his appeal, had contended that the Special CBI Court erred in its order and had alleged that Chidambaram was equally culpable like Raja as he also had a role in deciding the spectrum pricing and allowing telecom companies to off-load shares to foreign firms.

He had said the evidence brought before the trial court was sufficient to show that Chidambaram, as the then finance minister, had prima facie committed offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act and other criminal laws.

The application filed by the NGO, submitted that a “thorough investigation” was required to probe the role of Chidambaram, who was the Finance Minister when spectrum was allocated to telecom companies during the tenure of A Raja as Telecom Minister in 2008. –PTI


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