‘Waited for evidence for 7 years, in vain’: Judge slams prosecution in 2G case

“The prosecution has miserably failed to prove any charge against any of the accused, made in its well-choreographed charge sheet,” the judgment said.
‘Waited for evidence for 7 years, in vain’: Judge slams prosecution in 2G case
‘Waited for evidence for 7 years, in vain’: Judge slams prosecution in 2G case

“...for the last about seven years, on all working days, summer vacation included, I religiously sat in the open Court from 10 AM to 5 PM, awaiting for someone with some legally admissible evidence in his possession, but all in vain. Not a single soul turned up. This indicates that everybody was going by public perception created by rumour, gossip and speculation. However, public perception has no place in judicial proceedings.” (sic)

This is just one of the many scathing parts of the 1552-page judgment pronounced by judge OP Saini in one of the three 2G cases on Thursday. Seven years after the first case was filed in the alleged 2G spectrum scam, the special CBI court pronounced that there was no ‘scam’ in the case, and the judge did not have any kind words for the prosecution. The court acquitted all 17 accused in the case, and placed the blame squarely on the prosecution in the process.

The judge slammed the prosecution in the case, saying they miserably failed to prove any charges they had made in their ‘well-choreographed charge sheet.’

“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,” the judgment said.

‘Raja not the mother lode of conspiracy’

“There is no material on record to show that Sh. A. Raja was mother lode of conspiracy in the instant case. There is also no evidence of his no­holds­barred immersion in any wrongdoing, conspiracy or corruption,” the judgement said.

“The genesis of the instant case lies not so much in the actions of Sh. A. Raja but in the action/inaction of others,” the judge wrote, referring to the Senior Public Prosecutor and the Special Public Prosecutor in the case. The judgement said that the senior officers refused to even sign the many applications and replies that were filed in court, and in fact made the junior most officer – Inspector Manoj Kumar – sign these documents.

“When questioned, the reply of the regular Sr. PP would be that the learned Spl. PP would sign it and when the learned Spl. PP was questioned, he would say that CBI people would sign it. Ultimately, the petition/ reply would be filed under the signature of Inspector. This shows that neither any investigator nor any prosecutor was willing to take any responsibility for what was being filed or said in the Court,” the judge wrote.

No evidence to prove Kanimozhi was a conspirator

The judge questioned the ‘familiarity indicates conspiracy’ theory of the prosecution in accusing Kanimozhi of conspiracy. “If two Members of Parliament, belonging to same party, meet each other, by itself, there is nothing wrong in that,” the judge wrote.

“The evidence only shows that Ms. Kanimozhi Karunanithi and Sh. A. Raja used to meet each other,” he said. “There is nothing unusual in that. In the absence of any other material, it would be speculative and conjectural to infer from this that the money was parked in Kalaignar TV (P) Limited simply because one of directors of company, that is, Ms. Kanimozhi Karunanithi used to meet Sh. A. Raja. PW 7 Sh. Aseervatham Achari nowhere deposed that they were in any way involved in the transaction of Rs. 200 crore or anything related thereto,” the judge wrote.

He further added that there was no evidence that Raja himself was involved in the “generation of illegal gratification of Rs. 200 crore, its transfer in tranches to Kalaignar TV (P) Limited and its pre­determined destination being Kalaignar TV (P) Limited.”

“The reliance on this witness by the prosecution shows that its case is based on farfetched and remote possibilities only and not on any legally admissible evidence,” he wrote.

Rebuttal as strategy slammed

The judge also questioned the strategy of the prosecution of not filing written arguments, and instead, waiting for the defence’s arguments to then make their rebuttal on a day-to-day basis.

“In a sense, the main address of the prosecution was made during the rebuttal arguments. In order to meet this unique situation, the defence had to be given extra two days for further rebutting the arguments of the prosecution introduced through written arguments,” the judge writes.

“Not only this, the most painful part is that learned Spl. PP was not ready to sign the written submissions filed by him. What is the use of a document in a Court of law, which is not signed by anyone? When questioned as to why the learned Spl. PP was filing unsigned written   submissions, his reply would be that some defence advocates had also not signed the written submissions. Great efforts had to be made to persuade the learned Spl. PP to sign the written   submissions, but all in vain,” the judge said.

He further chided, “The learned Spl. PP and the regular prosecutor were moving in two different directions without any coordination. Many more things can be said but that would only add to the length of the order.”

‘Misreading, selective reading, non reading and out of context reading’

“The charge sheet of the instant case is based mainly on misreading, selective reading, non ­reading and out of context reading of the official record. Further, it is based on some oral statements made by the witnesses during investigation, which the witnesses have not owned up in the witness ­box. Lastly, if statements were made orally by the witnesses, the same were contrary to the official record and thus, not acceptable in law,” the judge said.

The judge also spoke about the high level of curiosity in the case, and the large number of people who had an opinion in the case which was not supported by any material evidence.

“It may be noted that trial of the instant case attracted lot of public attention. Everyone was curious to know about the case. Due to this, the Courtroom would always remain overcrowded, filled up with persons from all sections of society. Due to this, scores of people appeared before the Court and submitted that true facts had not been placed before the Court. However, when questioned as to whether they were in possession of any definite material for making such an assertion, almost all of them withdrew and left,” the judge noted.

“The end result of the above discussion is that, I have absolutely no hesitation in holding that the prosecution has miserably failed to prove any charge against any of the accused, made in its well choreographed charge sheet,” the judge pronounced.

The other two cases

The second CBI cases against Ravi Kant Ruia and others was also defeated as the “prosecution has not been successful in proving any of the ingredients either of the offence of conspiracy to cheat DoT or of the substantive offence of cheating.”

“The case of the prosecution is that Loop Telecom Limited was a company of Essar group or was substantially controlled by it and as such it was not eligible for applying UAS licences.   However, as already noted above, the prosecution has failed to prove this.  When the prosecution has failed to prove that Loop Telecom Limited was a company of Essar group or was substantially controlled by it, there can be no false representation. Accordingly, there is no evidence on record to prove that ingredients of Section 420 IPC relating to cheating are made out,” the judgment said.

Once the CBI case fell through, the case filed by the Enforcement Directorate – which was based entirely on the CBI charge sheet, also fell through in the special CBI court.

Pronouncing that there was no money laundering, the judge said, “Since there are no “proceeds of crime”, in my humble opinion, there is no need to discuss other issues based on evidence led by the parties, as that would amount to an exercise, not only in speculation but also in futility, as the very basic fact required for constitution of an offence of money­ laundering, that is, “proceeds of crime”, is knocked out.”

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