The stun­ning ver­dict in the po­lit­i­cally-sen­si­tive 2G spec­trum al­lo­ca­tion cases ac­quit­ting ex-tele­com min­is­ter A Raja and all other ac­cused at the fag end of the year was the show stealer from trial courts in Delhi in an event­ful 2017.

The fail­ure of the pros­e­cu­tion in 2G cases over­shad­owed its suc­cess in pros­e­cut­ing po­lit­i­cal heavy­weights in coal scam cases in which for­mer Jhark­hand chief min­is­ter Madhu Koda was sent to three years in prison and ex­coal sec­re­tary H C Gupta was given vary­ing jail terms in two such cases.

The out­come in the 2G mat­ter has raised more ques­tions than an­swers as spe­cial judge O P Saini, who was exclusively deal­ing with the cases aris­ing out of the spec­trum al­lo­ca­tion scam for seven years, was even crit­i­cal of spe­cial pros­e­cu­tor ap­pointed by the Supreme Court which has been mon­i­tor­ing the probe in the case in which the CAG had com­puted the loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the ex­che­quer.

While time will tell if Saini’s judge­ment will stand the scru­tiny of the higher courts, the six trial courts in the cap­i­tal dealt with sev­eral cases of all In­dia sig­nif­i­cance con­cern­ing ter­ror­ism, ter­ror fund­ing and money laun­der­ing in­volv­ing Kash­miri sep­a­ratist lead­ers.

Be­sides, defama­tion cases in­volv­ing Arun Jait­ley and Arvind Ke­jri­wal, VVIP chop­per scam in which ex-Air Force Chief S P Tyagi is a prime ac­cused and a graft case in which ex-high court judge I M Qud­dusi was be­hind bars for a a week kept the trial courts busy in the year.

The po­lit­i­cally-sen­si­tive Rs 3,600crore VVIP chop­per case picked up pace this year and Tyagi be­came the first chief of any force to be listed in a charge sheet in a high-pro­file crim­i­nal case. So was the case of for­mer Ch­hat­tis­garh High Court judge Qud­dusi, who was jailed for seven days in an al­leged med­i­cal col­lege cor­rup­tion case.

Judge Saini not only hogged the lime­light with his ver­dict ac­quit­ting all in the 2G cases but in the be­gin­ning of the year, he had given an­other shocker to the CBI by dis­charg­ing an­other tele­com min­is­ter and DMK leader Dayanidhi Maran and other ac­cused in the Air­cel-Maxis deal case which was an off-shoot of the case aris­ing from the 2G probe.

He cleared Maran of the charges of cor­rup­tion, con­spir­acy and money laun­der­ing by hold­ing that al­le­ga­tions were based on “mis­read­ing of of­fi­cial files”, spec­u­la­tion and sur­mises of the com­plainant.

How­ever, the court of spe­cial judge Bharat Parashar deal­ing with 30 cases of coal scam, kept high and mighty on ten­ter­hooks and like last year de­liv­ered two more ver­dicts tak­ing the tally of de­cided cases of con­vic­tion up to four.

Koda was awarded three-year jail term for cor­rup­tion in al­lo­ca­tion of a coal block in Jhark­hand to Kolkata-based pri­vate com­pany Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd, along with ex- coal sec­re­tary H C Gupta, who was also given two years in jail in an­other coal case for ir­reg­u­lar­ity in al­lo­cat­ing a Mad­hya Pradesh based coal block to pri­vate firm Ka­mal Sponge Steel and Power Ltd.

Congress leader and in­dus­tri­al­ist Naveen Jin­dal also faced the court’s ire in the coal scam where a fresh charge sheet was filed against him and others for al­legedly cheat­ing the gov­ern­ment by mis­rep­re­sent­ing facts to get a coal block al­lo­cated in Mad­hya Pradesh.

An­other politi­cian, Dilip Ray, who was a union min­is­ter in the ear­lier NDA gov­ern­ment, was put on trial in a coal scam case per­tain­ing to al­leged ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in the al­lo­ca­tion of a Jhark­hand coal block in 1999.

Among other high-pro­file cases which kept the courts busy were those in­volv­ing for­mer Hi­machal Pradesh chief min­is­ter Virb­hadra Singh and Delhi Chief Min­is­ter Arvind Ke­jri­wal, who had a tough time in crim­i­nal defama­tion com­plaint filed against him by Union min­is­ter Arun Jait­ley.

While Singh and his wife ap­peared as ac­cused be­fore a spe­cial court in a nearly Rs 10 crore DA case, Ke­jri­wal faced sev­eral al­le­ga­tions apart from defama­tion, in­clud­ing ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in grant­ing con­tracts in for roads and mis­lead­ing peo­ple about mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions.

An­other po­lit­i­cal case that hogged the lime­light with the ar­rest of T TV Dhi­nakaran, now elected MLA from the erst­while con­stituency of exAIADMK supremo J Jay­alalithaa, was in con­nec­tion with an Elec­tion Com­mis­sion bribery case re­lated to use of party’s ‘two leaves’ poll sym­bol.

Be­sides these, sev­eral ter­ror-re­lated mat­ters also took the front seat with the courts send­ing be­hind bars Kash­miri sep­a­ratists and sev­eral other ter­ror­ists.

In sev­eral ter­ror fund­ing-re­lated cases in­volv­ing Kash­miri sep­a­ratists, Shabir Shah, Hur­riyat leader Syed Ali Shah Gee­lani’s son-in-law Altaf Ahmed Shah and glob­ally-wanted ter­ror­ist Syed Salahud­din’s son Syed Shahid Yousuf, were sent to jail for their al­leged roles.

Dur­ing the year, the courts also re­mained seized of sev­eral money laun­der­ing cases in­volv­ing big busi­ness­men in­clud­ing con­tro­ver­sial meat ex­porter Moin Akhtar Qureshi, who spent over three months in jail be­fore he was granted the bail on De­cem­ber 12 in one such case.

Money laun­der­ing case came to the fore with RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s daugh­ter Misa Bharti com­ing un­der the lens af­ter the En­force­ment Direc­torate (ED) filed a charge sheet against her and her hus­band, Shailesh Ku­mar, in Rs 1.2 crore PMLA case.

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