Millennium Post

Fault sans defaulters

Fault sans defaulters
After the shoddy performance of prosecution that ended with 'Nobody killed Aarushi', we now have yet another anti-climatic situation with 'Nobody scammed the 2G spectrum'. As the CBI special court went on to hear the carefully arranged files organised by the CBI to prosecute the ministers involved during the UPA-II tenure along with several influential businessmen, the nation stood with abated breaths for a verdict whose outcome seemed quite obvious. The 2G scam in 2010-2011 had uprooted our society. Tagged as the biggest scam of modern India, it was posited at a value that cost the national exchequer approximately Rs 1.76 lakh crore—becoming the 'fraud of the century'. A major aberration which had highlighted the crony capitalism and underhand money laundering, endemic to the erstwhile UPA government; a crucial underlying fact that had jolted the Narendra Modi government to power. With fingers being pointed at the top brass of the UPA leadership and the Prime Minister himself not being exempt from the shadows of a murky business deal, the 2G scam and the Commonwealth scam collectively led to the decimation of the UPA government, with the Congress being reduced to an abysmal 44 seats in the lower house of the Parliament. However, as the CBI special court judge OP Saini observed, there was no critical collection of data that pointed fingers directly to the telecom minister, A Raja or Kanimozhi, two leaders of the DMK who were the most lambasted during this obnoxious dealing. As the Comptroller and Auditor General, Vinod Rai had observed, there was undoubtedly a massive loss to the national exchequer witnessed during the 2G allocation with fingers automatically pointing towards the telecom minister, yet the CBI failed to posit adequate findings that would automatically blacklist those who had so forth been charged as guilty. The primary concerns surrounding the 2G scam had been with its unlawful allocation. Instead of abiding by the listed first-come-first-serve policy, Raja had been accused of following a partial method where he derived monetary favours and thereby allowed allocations, even to those companies that did not qualify to fulfil the necessary requirements that precede such allocation. That a scam occurred remains unquestioned, because the CAG had pointed out, without a doubt, the massive damage that was incurred upon government exchequer which ultimately led to the cancelling of the licenses of 122 companies involved. However, the failure, in this regard, has been on the part of the CBI to unearth enough believable evidence that would provide a natural colour to its argument. The CBI failed to prove that Raja or his office manipulated the cut-off date or the first-come-first-serve policy. There was insufficient testimony to prove that Raja or any of the accused ignored the ineligibility of Swan Telecom or Unitech group companies. Saini in his verdict observed that there were major lapses that precluded the assured occurrence of such a massive organised crime. Those familiar with Saini, say unambiguously that he spent every minute dedicating his time to discover the truth hidden behind the veils of the 2G scam, one that has harangued our country and its exchequer for years to come. It has tarnished the future of the telecom industry which was riding on a high, seeking to make successful inroads in the foreseeable future. Saini observed that the scam was the result of an artful arrangement of facts which were amplified beyond recognition to suit a narrative that was pervading the time. The lapses that were present were at the level of policymaking—the UPA government had been unsuccessful in efficiently implementing the 2G spectrum. Yet the direct consequence of inefficiency piled onto a full-fledged scam, is an arbitrary outcome that was propagated by some and turned into reality by the belief of several others. The CBI hearing comes in direct contradiction to what the Supreme Court had observed in 2012, when it had cancelled 122 licenses and slammed a fine of 17 crores on seven illegal beneficiaries. Not to forget, this was the tide upon which the BJP had swayed to power in 2014. While the verdict came as a massive relief to the Congress that has been battling a lost war against accusations of severe corruption, it has been a setback for the BJP whose accusations now, do indeed seem like propaganda. Political games aside, one fact remains unchanged. The policymaking in our country is completely skewed. The UPA government may not have scammed, but they surely faltered when it came to successfully implementing the 2G that would have revolutionised the face of telecom in India today. The CBI intends to challenge this verdict in the Delhi High Court, further dragging the blame game of what was one of the most unfortunate decision-making processes of modern India. The solution should adequately be directed towards reviving telecommunications today rather than fighting a battle of saving egos. One question continues to linger: if there are no defaulters, then where is the Rs 1.76 lakh crore resting?

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