After a six-year trial, a court in Delhi will give its verdict today on whether former Telecom Minister A Raja masterminded India's biggest ever telecom scam. Mr Raja is accused of allocating airwaves and licenses for cellphone networks in exchange for kickbacks and causing the state a loss of Rs. 1.76 lakh crore.
The Telecom scam, said to be the biggest in Independent India, came to light after a report by the national auditor in 2010. The report said in 2007-2008, second generation or 2G licences had been given to telecom operators at throwaway prices instead of allocation through a free and fair bidding process.
A Raja, who was from the DMK, a Tamil Nadu-based regional party, has denied any wrongdoing. He has said the decisions were taken after apprising then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and were based on inputs from DoT, other Cabinet Ministers and the then Solicitor General.
Mr Raja was released on bail after spending nearly a year in jail. Along with Mr Raja, several other politicians and executives of some of the top telecom companies, including the one owned by Anil Ambani's conglomerate, are named in the case.
M Kanimozhi, the daughter of DMK chief M Karunanidhi -- is also an accused in the case. The Central Bureau of Investigation, which probed the case, said a Rs. 200-crore bribe paid by a telecom to Mr Raja was deposited in the account of a Chennai-based television channel, which she partly owns. She has denied any wrongdoing.
The 2G scam was among the major corruption scandals that came to light during the second term of the UPA government headed by Dr Manmohan Singh. It provided fuel to the opposition charges of corruption against the government.