Cu­ri­ous Case Against Ex-Tele­com Min­is­ter

The Economic Times - - The Edit Page Chock-a-block -

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.

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