Curious Case Against Ex-Telecom Minister
The judgement of Special Judge O P Saini hearing the 2G telecom cases that dismissed the charges against former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran and his brother is noteworthy for reasons other than its refusal even to frame charges against the accused. With plodding thoroughness, the judgement examines the evidence presented by the prosecution to charge the former minister with arm-twisting Aircel promoter Sivasankaran into selling his company to Malaysia-based Maxis and receiving investment from Maxis associates into his brother’s companies as quid pro quo, and finds it wholly deficient. The prosecution is unlikely to gain anything by going on appeal, given the evidence cited. Three things stand out in the discussion of the evidence. One, the shoddiness of the prosecution. If a simple timeline of events had been constructed, it could have averted the embarrassment of attributing to D Maran decisions that were taken after he had demitted office. The judge manages to find several instances of the oral evidence relied on by the prosecution contradicting the evidence recorded on the file, including on matters such as whether files were stuck at the level of the minister or before they had reached him. Two, the apparent eagerness of babus in the telecom hierarchy to say and do things they believe would please the powers that be. That a former senior official is no longer alive comes in handy for them to blame him for all kinds of real or deemed transgressions, claiming they acted on his oral instructions. They should be charged with perjury. Three, there is an urgent need for government decision-making to become all-electronic, so that all communications have an audit trail and stapled sheets of paper and pencilled remarks go out of the picture.