New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday moved the Delhi high court against the acquittal of former telecom minister A. Raja, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief M. Karunanidhi’s daughter and MP Kanimozhi and others in the 2G spectrum allocation scam by a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court.
Though the CBI had said in December that it would appeal against the acquittal within 60 days after seeking legal counsel, on Monday, a person familiar with the development that “CBI has not filed any appeal so far and it is not known when the appeal will be filed."
The CBI was set to challenge the acquittal on the basis of documentary evidence that the agency had.
“The CBI had provided written and documentary evidence running into lakhs of pages, along with 250 witnesses. While documented proof always takes precedence, they were not considered by the court and instead, the oral evidence of the accused was relied on," this person added on condition of anonymity.
Special CBI judge O.P. Saini had exonerated all 17 accused in the case relating to irregularities in the allocation of 2G telecom spectrum and licences during Raja’s tenure as telecom minister, on 21 December 2017 for lack of legal evidence against them.
The CBI court had also refused to hold any of the accused persons liable under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) because the prosecution failed to prove any “proceeds of crime".
ED had alleged that Rs200 crore was paid by Swan Telecom (P) Ltd (STPL) promoters to DMK-run Kalaignar TV.
The other accused were Raja’s ex-private secretary R.K. Chandolia, Reliance Group (previously known as Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group) managing director Gautam Doshi, its senior vice-president Hari Nair, group president Surendra Pipara, Swan Telecom Pvt. Ltd promoter Vinod Goenka, Unitech Ltd managing director Sanjay Chandra, Essar Group promoters Anshuman and Ravi Ruia, its director (strategy and planning) Vikas Saraf, Loop Telecom Pvt. Ltd promoters Kiran Khaitan and her husband I.P. Khaitan. Loop Telecom, Loop Mobile India Ltd and Essar Tele Holding Ltd were also tried.
In 2010, a Comptroller and Auditor General report had claimed that allocation of 2G spectrum in 2008 led to a presumptive loss of Rs1.76 trillion to the exchequer.
CBI had filed an FIR against “unknown officers" of DoT and unknown private persons/companies under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Prevention of Corruption Act in October 2009 and a Special CBI Court was set up to hear the case in March 2011.