No proof to try Chidambaram in 2G case: Court

New Delhi: There was ‘no material on record’ to suggest Home Minister P. Chidambaram was ‘acting’ on ‘corrupt motives’ or ‘abused his official position’, a Delhi court Saturday said, dismissing Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy’s plea to make the minister a co-accused in the 2G case.

“I do not find any sufficient ground for proceeding against Mr. P. Chidambaram. The plea is without any merit and the same is dismissed,” said Central Bureau Investigation (CBI) Special Judge O.P. Saini.

“The prayer of Subramanian Swamy seeking the summoning of P. Chidambaram is dismissed,” said Judge Saini in his 63-page judgment.

The court said that Swamy’s petition “contained neither allegations nor evidence against the home minister that he played a key role in the subversion of the process of issuance of letters of intent (LOI), UAS licences and allocation of spectrum in the years 2007-08.”

“There is no evidence on record that he (Chidambaram) was acting in pursuit to the criminal conspiracy, while being party to the two decisions regarding non-revision of the spectrum prices and dilution of equity by two companies,” the judge said in a packed courtroom.

Offering relief to Indian Finance Minister Chidambaram, the court virtually put the blame on former Communications Minister A. Raja, who is in jail for the past year, and officials of the department of telecommunications for the lapses.

“All these incriminating acts were allegedly done by the minister/officials of department of telecommunications, ministry of information and broadcasting, government of India and by private persons,” the court said.

“I may add that these two acts find mention in the charge for the reason that these acts were accompanied by further acts of subverting the established policy and procedure for grant of UAS (Unified Access Service) licences and the payment and receipt of bribe by other accused, who stand charged and are facing trial,” the judge said.

The case would next be heard March 17.

The court verdict said that a decision taken by a public servant did not become criminal for the simple reason that it had caused loss to the public exchequer or resulted in pecuniary advantage to others.

“Merely attending meetings and taking decisions therein is not a criminal act. There is no material on record to suggest that Mr. Chidambaram was acting with such corrupt or illegal motives or was in abuse of his official position, while consenting to the two decisions. There is no evidence that he obtained any pecuniary advantage without any public interest,” the judge said.

The court said that there were incriminating material against other accused, who stood charged and were facing trial.

“In the end, Mr. P. Chidambaram was party to only two decisions that are – keeping the spectrum prices at 2001 level and dilution of equity by two companies. These two acts are not per se criminal,” the judge ruled.

The court said that in the absence of any other incriminating act on Chidambaram’s part, it could not be said that he was prima facie party to the criminal conspiracy.

After the dismissal of his plea on Chidambaram, Swamy said he would appeal against the verdict in a higher court. He alleged that Raja committed irregularities in connivance with Chidambaram in allotting the licenses.

He said the decision on pegging spectrum prices on 2001 rates was jointly taken by Raja and Chidambaram.