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No one volunteered to enter the witness box: Why judge Saini shot down the 2G probe

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‘Many prominent public-spirited persons made representations before various authorities, but none volunteered to enter the witness box,’ wrote the judge.

New Delhi: Why did the prosecution case in the 2G spectrum scam fall flat on its face? Judge O.P. Saini has given a handful of reasons that led him to acquit all the high-profile accused in the case.

Much of the blame is reserved for the team of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) officers who led the probe.

“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,” the judge wrote.

The prosecution team of five lawyers was headed by senior advocate Anand Grover. While the team had to scan documents that spread over three to four lakh pages to build a case, the judge says its work was inadequate. Initially, U.U. Lalit was appointed special prosecutor, but he went on to become a Supreme Court judge. Grover had to take over from him during the cross examination stage.

Star witnesses didn’t work

Saini noted that while there were many representations on record made by various prominent public-spirited persons before various authorities, none volunteered to enter the witness box.

“What does all this mean?” he asked rhetorically, and concluded that “nobody had any good or first-hand material in his possession.”

The fate of the case thus depended upon witnesses from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and from the companies of the accused. The witnesses from DoT were highly guarded and even hesitant in their deposition. In some instances, they even went against official record, rendering themselves unreliable.

Media trial and public perception

The ruling noted that everybody was going by public perception created by rumour, gossip and speculation. However, the judge repeated that public perception had no place in judicial proceedings.

“I may also add that for the last seven years, on all working days, summer vacation included, I religiously sat in the open court from 10 am to 5 pm, waiting for someone with some legally admissible evidence in his possession, but all in vain. Not a single soul turned up.”

Sluggish bureaucracy

The judge said the lack of clarity in the ‘first-come, first-served’ policy as well as the DoT guidelines also added to the confusion.

“The guidelines have been framed in such technical language that meaning of many terms are not clear even to DoT officers,” he wrote.

Saini went on to question if it was okay to blame companies/others for violation of the rules when even officers of the department did not understand them.

He took a last shot at the illegible, badly written, jargon-ridden notes of officials, which created an impression of wrongdoing.

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  1. It is a festival for acquitals. India is a country free of corruption. Everyone is clean . Real Ram Rajya!!!! Wish the rest of the world take a few lessons from us. Sambhawami Yuge Yuge! This is what Lord Krishna said when “Adharma reached unprecedent levels”. Now he need not worry about India. Job done.

  2. Thank you Shekharji and Apurvaji for being so responsive to my plea to please cover this aspect as well.

    Feel very dejected actually. I gave up a days salary for going to Azad maidan agitation and for almost a fortnight after work, used to go to the agitation, keeping the pressure going. The travel and the late nights weren’t easy. Not much, i agree. People lost lives also. But i felt like I was a part of India. For the second time in my life.

    I look at the US FBI investigation and see how much ‘integrity’ matters to them. Just compare – They are investigating their President and we are just looking into basically a coalition partner’s corruption.
    I feel odd that we are asked to stand up for national anthem but not for national integrity.

    Feel pretty bad. And 7 years of trial means 4 years under Congress and 3 under Modi.

    I don’t want to be disheartened. Maybe, it is like the 90’s Indian cricket team. Only Sachin used to play and we kept missing out on the big prizes. Then everyone began to play as a team and we began to win everywhere.

    Similarly, we fought real hard at the first stage, pushing for complete exposure of the scam and then the charge filing. AAP got created. But, just like the team, not everyone pitched in. So instead of a water shed victory, India lost.

    We need to keep pushing but don’t feel strong enough.

    No one stood up as witness?

    Maybe they should have played the national anthem in the court. Maybe a witness to this farce might have mistaken himself to be in a theatre, and hearing the national anthem might have stood up. Stood up for something at least.

    Why did I go to sleep?

    Feel down.

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