Former telecom minister A Raja and DMK leader Kanimozhi, and 15 others walked free from a Delhi court today after they were acquitted of charges in the "2G scam case", which has been dubbed as 'India's biggest telecom scandal'. Mr Raja was 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 trial in 2G case began in 2011, a year after the national auditor - Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) - said in its report that there had been massive irregularities in the allocation of second generation or 2G licences when Mr Raja was the telecom minister. The auditor said licenses were given to telecom operators in 2007-2008 at throw-away prices without a free and fair bidding process. The CBI had alleged that a Rs 200-crore bribe paid by a telecom operator to Mr Raja was deposited in a TV channel in Chennai that is owned in part by Kanimozhi, the daughter of DMK chief M Karunanidhi.
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. The Time magazine had also ranked the 2G scam as the world's second-biggest abuse of executive power.
The unfolding of the 2G scam shook the nation and in 2G scam verdict on December 21 in which 17 accused were acquitted has once again sent shock waves in the entire country.
Here's the list of all 17 who were accused in the 2G Spectrum case:
1. Kanimozhi Karunanidhi, DMK leader and party chief M Karunanidhi's daughter
2. Former telecom minister A Raja
3. Former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura
4. A Raja's former private secretary RK Chandolia
5. Reliance ADAG Group Managing Director Gautam Doshi
6. Reliance ADAG senior Vice President Hari Nair
7. Reliance ADAG Group President Surendra Pipara
8. Swan Telecom Promoter Shahid Usman Balwa
10. Managing Director of Unitech Ltd Sanjay Chandra
11. Asif Balwa, Director of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables (P) Limited
12. Rajiv Agarwal, Director of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables (P) Limited
13. Bollywood producer Karim Morani
14. Kalaignar TV director Sharad Kumar
15. M/s Reliance Telecom Limited
16. M/S Swan Telecom (P) Limited (Now M/s Etisalat DB Telecom (P) Ltd)
17. M/s Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd