The Telegraph
Sunday , January 22 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Feb verdict on plea for PC trial

New Delhi, Jan. 21: The special court hearing the spectrum case today reserved its order on Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy’s plea to prosecute home minister P. Chidambaram in the scam for alleged collusion with the main accused.

“The order is reserved for February 4,” judge .P. Saini said after Swamy concluded his arguments today.

Swamy had filed a private complaint seeking a chance to prove that Chidambaram, finance minister in 2008 when the alleged controversial allocation of airwaves took place, had taken a joint decision with the prime accused — then telecom minister A. Raja — on fixing 2G spectrum price.

Swamy told the court all the documents and evidence he had brought on record had “prima facie” revealed that the home minister “colluded” with Raja.

“Both Chidambaram and former telecom minister A. Raja were equally guilty. Prima facie, Chidambaram had conspired and colluded with Raja to commit (an) offence of criminal misconduct,” he said.

Raja, facing trial in the case along with 13 others, has been in jail since February last year.

“The evidence brought on record is sufficient to show that Chidambaram prima facie committed offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act and other criminal laws,” Swamy argued.

On December 8 last year, the court had granted permission to Swamy to depose as a witness and present his case that Chidambaram should be made an accused. Nine days later, on December 17, the judge asked him to present more facts and evidence.

Swamy then submitted certified copies of documents in a bid to establish that the Union home minister had an equal role as the then telecom minister in fixing the prices at 2001 rates.

He placed on record certified copies of the minutes of a meeting between Chidambaram and Raja in January 2008 and also the minutes of another meeting the two ministers had with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

“The government’s policy on spectrum pricing is based on a cabinet decision of 2003 which left it to the DoT (telecom department) and MoF (finance ministry). The two ministers had agreed on this because of legacy considerations and I accepted their recommendations,” Swamy had quoted the Prime Minister as saying.

Swamy also submitted a certified copy of a January 15, 2008, letter Chidambaram wrote to the Prime Minister.

“DoT and Ministry of Finance would discuss and finalise spectrum pricing formula which will include incentive for efficient use of spectrum….” Swamy said, quoting from the letter.

Legal experts this newspaper had spoken to had highlighted four possibilities after the court allowed Swamy to depose as a witness.

They were:

The court may summon Chidambaram if convinced by Swamy’s testimony and the purported evidence;

It may reject Swamy’s complaint if not satisfied;

It may direct the CBI to probe Swamy’s allegations against Chidambaram; and

It may ask Swamy to collect more evidence to pursue his complaint.