THE GAME OF BAIL; ALL IS NOT WELL
“In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends,”appositely said by Martin Luther King Jr. Similar is the situation with Manmohan Singh, P. Chidambram and Sonia Gandhi in the wake of 2G spectrum fiasco. There is a miasma of silence in the air. Interestingly, Salman Khurshid is appearing to be fit and fine as if all is well. However, on the contrary he and his associates know it well that all is really not well.
The much notorious scam has major legal tangles riveting the nation’s attention. The Attorney General GE Vahanvati was even probed by Supreme Court as his role in the scam has been divulged. CBI’s Director of Prosecution Abdul Aziz has rescued himself from proceedings on Essar-Loop, embroiled in the 2G scam owing to his son’s association with these companies. However, what has raised eyebrows is that the belated move came only after Aziz gave a “favourable” opinion for Essar-Loop , though his son has been associated with the two companies since October 2009.
Aziz had, in September, opined that a chargesheet was not made out against Essar on grounds of violation of Clause 8 of the telecom guidelines, as it was not a penal offence. Aziz is also learnt to have expressed his opinion that Loop was not an associate company of Essar, citing a controversial report of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) that reversed its stand on Loop’s association with Essar. Aziz’s son, Adnan, has been employed with Essar and Loop since October 1, 2009 and as a matter of propriety, the Director of Prosecution should have recused himself before giving his opinion on such an important issue due to the apparent conflict of interest with the companies.
Aziz did not reply on the controversy.
CBI investigators, as also the Enforcement Directorate, have found that Loop was an Essar front company and was therefore not eligible for the scarce 2G spectrum. The legal wing of the CBI is technically under the Law Ministry and is independent of the CBI.
CBI officials feel the move puts a spanner in findings of the investigating team that has favoured filing of a chargesheet against the two firms based on the evidence gathered till now. Being the agency’s boss, Singh is entitled to overrule the opinion of the law officers.
CBI Director, AP Singh overruled Aziz’s opinion on the issue and file was sent to GE Vahanvati on 24thof October by CBI. Indubitably, he was supposed to give his suggestions immediately seeing its social and political implications. On the contrary, he drew it under the carpet till the time when Shahid Balwa and Kanimozhi were to be released on bail. After a month he wrote that both the companies according to Company Act have been found guilty.
Now let us highlight on the hero of the scam A Raja’s recent conversation with Chauthi Duniya. After the bail of kanimozhi elated A.Raja said he “is the captain of 2G ship and will wait for everyone else to come out before he makes a similar attempt. He said this on a day when most of his co-accused was beaming with happiness after being granted bail by the high court.
Certainly, his statement was startling for Manmohan Singh and P. Chidambram. A Raja is likely to open his defense in coming weeks. He says that most of the investigation of CBI was done in hurry that will be difficult to prove in court. He was charged for offences under section 120 B(Criminal Conspiracy). Of course without Nira Radia the investigation will be incomplete.
Raja’s counsel Sushil Kumar says that according to allegations imposed on Raja, Nira Radia plays key role. Moreover, she has been made a witness by CBI. The next catastrophe will be when Raja will defend himself and will ask the court to bring Manmohan Singh and Chidambram as his witness. For this he will refer to spectrum distribution file dated 11th of january 2008 and 15th of january 2008 in which Prime Minister has done the noting.
The lawyers of Raja asserts that at the time of hearing on bail application of A Raja no one could escape. When misappropriation in 2G spectrum allocation was taking place the head of GoM, Pranab Mukherjee held the last meeting with A.Raja.
On the other hand Montek Singh Ahluwalia was a member of the spectrum GoM. He did not object and when the scam broke out, he was the first to defend Raja with the arguments that the spectrum subsidy is similar to food subsidy. There is clear evidence, Bhardwaj knew that Raja’s actions were wrong. In fact, he refused to give legal opinion, knowing it would be subject to manipulation.On October 26, 2007, a detailed brief for legal opinion was sent to the law ministry on the issue that triggered the spectrum scam- what should the procedure be for processing the 575 applications?
According to directions of government CBI since year 2003 is investigating the factors related to this scam. Pramod Mahajan, Arun Shourie are other names who will certainly be in trouble. The person who will be affected most would be Dayanidhi Maran, the former textile minister. The Enforcement Directorate may register a money laundering case against the Maran brothers and others in connection with the controversial Aircel-Maxis deal case in which CBI has alleged former Telecom Minister. Dayanidhi Maran had received Rs547 crore as bribe. ED sources privy to the development said the CBI FIR is under review and the agency may register its Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) equivalent to a police complaint under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) provisions.
The ED had earlier issued notices to Telecom firm Aircel for alleged contraventions of foreign exchange rules in connection with 2G spectrum allocation case.It has been alleged by former Aircel Chief C Sivasankaran that Maran, as the then Telecom Minister, had favoured Maxis-group in the takeover of his company and in return investments were made by the company through Astro network in Sun TV owned by Maran family.
Suffice is to say that Congress is trying to clear the smear by defending P.Chidambram who is surrounded with allegations. At the same time the party is trying to have a grip on southern states. Infelicitously, nothing will work as magic at this point of time. All the names will be revealed in sequel as the captain of the ship is up in arms. Let us see who wins in the game and whether there is any denouement of the 2G spectrum tale.