The 2G spectrum loss is a scam colluded by politicians and government officials under the Indian National Congress (Congress) coalition government. The Union Government of that time is accused that it undercharged mobile telephone companies for frequency allocation licenses, which they used to create 2G spectrum subscriptions for cell phones.
The special CBI court is likely to pronounce the judgment in the 2G scam on Thursday, which rocked the telecom sector some years ago and played a major part in cementing the UPA government’s reputation of being corrupt. The case involved allocation of 122 telecom licenses, bundled with spectrum, at prices determined in 2001 on a first-come-first-served basis by then telecom minister A Raja in 2008.
The Comptroller and Auditor General said that by not auctioning these airwaves, the government suffered a notional loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore. CBI pegged the loss at Rs 30,984 crore. The Supreme Court declared the system of allocating airwaves faulty and cancelled the 122 licences belonging to nine telcos in 2012. Let’s take a look at those accused of being involved in the scam and the charges against them:
A. RAJA DMK (THEN TELECOM MINISTER)
Allegations: A CBI charge sheet alleged that Raja conspired with the accused and arbitrarily changed the first-come, firstserved policy to ensure that Swan Telecom Pvt. Ltd. (STPL) and Unitech received licences.
Charges: Criminal breach of trust by a public servant (Section 409), criminal conspiracy (Section 120-B), cheating (Section 420), forgery for purpose of cheating (Section 468), using a forged document as genuine (Section 471), booked under Prevention of Corruption Act for criminal misconduct and illegal gratification.
- K. KANIMOZHI DMK MP
Allegations:The CBI alleges that Kanimozhi, majority shareholder of Kalaignar TV and daughter of DMK chief M Karunanidhi, conspired with Raja to route Rs 200 crore from DB Realty and Swan Telecom cofounder Shahid Balwa to the TV company in return for grant of spectrum to Swan Telecom. Kanimozhi was charged with tax evasion by the income tax department in Chennai.
Charges: Criminal conspiracy (Section 120-B) and booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act for illegal gratification by a public servant.
SIDDHARTH BEHURA TELECOM SECRETARY From Jan 2008 to Sep 2009, during which the licences were granted (In late 2008
Allegations: According to the CBI charge sheet, Behura conspired with Raja and others to prevent telecom companies from physically filing applications.
Charges: Criminal breach of trust by a public servant (Section 409), criminal conspiracy (Section 120-B), cheating (Section 420) and using a forged document as genuine (Sections 471), booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act for criminal misconduct.
RK CHANDOLIA RAJA’S PVT SECRETARY WHEN THE LICENSES WERE GRANTED
Allegations: According to the CBI charge sheet, Chandolia, like Behura, conspired with Raja and others to prevent telecom companies from physically filing applications.
Charges: Criminal conspiracy (Section 120 B), booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act for criminal misconduct.
RAVI RUIA VICE-CHAIR, ESSAR GROUP
ANSHUMAN RUIA DIRECTOR, ESSAR GROUP
VIKAS SARAF DIRECTOR OF STRATEGY & PLANNING, ESSAR GROUP
IP KHAITAN CORPORATE PROMOTER, LOOP TELECOM
KIRAN KHAITAN CORPORATE PROMOTER, LOOP TELECOM
Allegations: The CBI has accused Essar of using Loop Telecom as a “front” to secure 2G licences in 2008, thereby cheating the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
Charges: Criminal conspiracy (Section 120 B) and cheating (Section 420)
SANJAY CHANDRA FORMER UNITECH WIRELESS MD
Allegations: Accused by CBI of colluding with Raja to benefit from the 2008 allocation of spectrum at throwaway prices. After getting spectrum in early 2008 by paying the government Rs 1,658 crore entry fee, Unitech sold 67.25% of the telecom business to Telenor of Norway for Rs 6,120 crore, valuing it at Rs 9,100 crore, more than five times the entry fee.
Charges: Criminal conspiracy to cheat (Section 420 with 120-B)
GAUTAM DOSHI FORMER GROUP MD, RELIANCE ANIL DHIRUBHAI AMBANI GROUP
HARI NAIR SENIOR VICE-PRESIDENT, RELIANCE ANIL DHIRUBHAI AMBANI GROUP
SURENDRA PIPARA SENIOR VP, RELIANCE ANIL DHIRUBHAI AMBANI GROUP
Allegations: Reliance Telecom Ltd (RTL), the telecom arm of Reliance ADAG, had used Swan Telecom Pvt. Ltd. an ineligible firm, as front company to get the 2G licences and airwaves in 14 circles. CBI alleged that R-ADAG funded STPL through a “circuitous route”. (R-ADAG has since been renamed Reliance Group.)
Charges: Criminal conspiracy to cheat (Section 420 with 120-B), abetment to crime (Section 109)
SHAHID BALWA CORPORATE PROMOTER, DB REALTY AND SWAN TELECOM
Allegations: STPL acted as a front company for RTL to apply for 2G licences and spectrum.
Charges: Creating false documents during investigation for use during court proceedings (Section 193), criminal conspiracy to cheat (Section 420 with 120B), booked under Prevention of Corruption Act for abetment to illegal gratification.
KARIM MORANI CORPORATE PROMOTER & DIRECTOR, CINEYUG FILMS
ASIF BALWA DIRECTOR, KUSEGAON FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
RAJIV AGARWAL DIRECTOR, KUSEGAON FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
SHARATH KUMAR MANAGING DIRECTOR, KALAIGNAR TV
Allegations: Morani-owned Cineyug Films was used by Shahid Balwa to channel Rs 200 cr illegally to Kalaignar TV. Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka transferred the money to Kusegaon Fruits & Vegetables, where Balwa’s younger brother Asif was a director. Kusegaon then transferred it to Cineyug Films & Morani transferred it to Kalaignar TV.
Charges: Creating false documents during investigation for use during court proceedings (Section 193), booked under Prevention of Corruption Act for abetment to illegal gratification