Issue Before CBI Different, Says Supreme Court Judge Who Scrapped 2G Licences

Justice GS Singhvi led the two-judge bench that declared all the licences issued by Mr Raja "illegal and arbitrary" and cancelled them in 2012.

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In February 2012, Justice Singhvi had quashed 122 2G licenses issued by A Raja in 2008. (File)

New Delhi:  A day after a special court said there was no proof of a scam in the allocation of 2G spectrum licences in 2007-8 when the Congress was in power and A Raja was Telecom Minister, a Supreme Court judge who had scrapped 122 licences allocated by Mr Raja calling them illegal, has set the record straight.

Justice GS Singhvi led the two-judge bench that declared all the licences issued by Mr Raja "illegal and arbitrary" and cancelled them in 2012.

Yesterday, Mr Raja was let off the hook by a special CBI court that said "a huge scam was seen by everyone where there was none." As the Congress called it vindication, the ruling BJP's main counter was the Supreme Court order that had accepted corruption in spectrum allotments.

"The issue before the CBI court and the Supreme Court were completely different," said retired Justice Singhvi in an exclusive interview to NDTV, stressing that it was for the CBI court to decide on corruption or conspiracy charges.

"The issue before the Supreme Court was the allocation of spectrum without auction - the fundamental principle of distribution of natural resources through auction," he said, adding that he held it was impermissible.

"Whether there was a conspiracy in spectrum allocation and any corruption was not before us - that was for the CBI court to decide," Justice Singhvi added.

But the retired judge did raise a question about the Delhi court ruling. "The government at the first instance after auction said it got Rs 65,000 crores. Now it is said no loss of revenue. Who did it?  It is for the people to decide," he said.

The "2G" case involves allegations - based on then national auditor Vinod Rai's report - that there had been massive irregularities in the allocation of second generation or 2G licences when Mr Raja was minister. Licenses were given to telecom operators in 2007-2008 at throwaway prices without a bidding process at the cost of Rs 1.76 lakh crore in revenue loss to the government, said the report.

The allegations devastated then prime minister Manmohan Singh's Congress-led government and left the Congress party battling allegations of deep-rooted corruption. Yesterday, the party demanded an apology from the BJP.

Union Minister Arun Jaitley, however, reminded that the Supreme Court had accepted epic corruption while cancelling the 2G licences and ordering an auction.

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