New Delhi: Senior officials at the office of then prime minister Manmohan Singh had “suppressed the most relevant and controversial part” of A Raja’s letter and the then telecom minister “cannot be faulted” for misrepresenting the facts, a special court said today.
The CBI had alleged that Raja had misled Singh in his letters on several key issues related to the policy of grant of 2G spectrum licences, including first-come-first-served and the cut-off date.
“It was not A Raja, but Pulok Chatterjee, in consultation with TKA Nair, as he had suppressed the most relevant and controversial part of the letter of A Raja from the then Prime Minister,” Special CBI Judge OP Saini said while acquitting all accused in three separate 2G spectrum cases.
The court held that Raja “cannot be faulted” for alleged misrepresentation of facts before Singh as the complete facts were not placed before him by his own office.
Referring to a note by Chatterjee, the court said it was lengthier than Raja’s letter to the prime minister.
“Prime Minister is a busy executive. Wherefrom would he find time to read such lengthy notes. Prime Minister is not expected to be immersed in files. It was much easier and better for him to read and understand the letter of A Raja rather than this note of Pulok Chatterjee,” it said.
Raja had written letters to Singh informing him of the decisions of the Department of Telecom (DoT) on several issues, including issuing letter of intents for new licences and processing of large number of applications in the wake of inadequate spectrum.
Referring to Chatterjee’s note, the court said that it discussed only the spectrum-related issues and did not at all consider the issue of new licences, which were to be issued as per the changed criteria from the date of application to the date of payment and was also the most controversial one.
It said that it was not clear from the record whether the note was seen by the then prime minister or not.
“However, it is clear that somebody from the PMO had given a go ahead to the DoT for issue of new licences and most probably it was Pulok Chatterjee himself, as his note records that he had spoken to Secretary (T),” the court said.
The special judge further said that only a partial view was placed before the then prime minister regarding spectrum related issues by the PMO.
“Accordingly, DoT issued 120 LOIs on 10 January, 2008. Thus, the record shows that the facts were misrepresented to the then Prime Minister by the officials of the PMO and not by A Raja,” it said.