Lucky escape?

Lucky escape?

 The clean chit given by the Supreme Court to finance minister P Chidambaram on a petition filed by Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy in the 2G spectrum case may have come as a reprieve for the minister and for a government besieged by corruption charges.

Yet  another judicial blow aimed at a senior minister would have been fatal for the UPA. But a judicial relief is just what it is – a declaration by the court that it could not find any facts, or interpret any fact or circumstance brought before it, as incriminating a person. It does not always lead to popular conviction about the innocence of the person who faces the charges. This is especially true of cases charged with politics, in which resourceful and important people figure. 

The case of Subramanian Swamy and the Centre for Public Interest Litigation, which was  a co-petitioner, was that Chidambaram, who was finance minister during the period when then telecom minister A Raja took the flawed decision to sell spectrum cheaply to his favourites, was also complicit in the irregularities.

He had discussions with Raja on spectrum pricing, and the case was that wrongdoing would not have been possible without his knowledge and concurrence. That is what the layman would think and he would have welcomed an investigation to get to the truth. It may be that discussions do not always involve conspiracy, but people would find it difficult to believe that the blame for a wrong decision that involved tens of thousands of crores  of rupees and many authorities, would just be limited to one ministry. The government has to explain a lot even after the court’s exoneration of Chidambaram. There is no certainty whether he has been finally let off.

Subramanian Swamy is planning to seek a review of the judgment in the court, though such attempts have rarely succeeded in the past. There are other parties too, including  the Left, which are not happy with the court’s decision.

The Left parties have said that they would continue to demand that Chidambaram be called as a witness by the JPC  which is investigating the 2G scam. Two courts have till now ruled in favour of Chidambaram, but unfortunately all suspicions have not been cleared. The case is complex, there are confusing trails though the wrong-doing is huge and clear, and there are multiple probes going on. The last word may be yet to come.

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