After a very extensive investigation, it seems that the process has finally reached its culmination.
The Delhi court headed by Judge OP Saini accepted all the charges levelled by the CBI against the 14 individuals and three companies - Reliance Telecom, Unitech Wireless and Swan Telecom - listed as principal players in the 2G scam. The CBI's charges against them range from criminal conspiracy to forgery and cheating. Former Telecom Minister A Raja, Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi and the executives of some of India's biggest telecoms will stand trial for criminal breach of trust - a charge that carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
As the trial begins, the spotlight will remain relentlessly on Mr Raja and Kanimozhi, the daughter of heavyweight Southern politician M Karunanidhi who heads the DMK, a major partner in the UPA coalition at the Centre. The arrest of his favourite child has tested the collaboration between the Congress and his party, though both sides have on record reiterated that their partnership is steady. "Raja and Kanimozhi are very confident that they have not done anything illegal or wrong, so they will come out clean," said senior DMK leader TKS Elangovan. Mr Raja has been in jail since February. Telecom executives like Sanjay Chandra of Unitech Wireless and Gautam Doshi, Hari Nair and Surendra Pipara of Reliance Telecom were imprisoned in April. Kanimozhi was arrested in May. In a statement, the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) said, "Framing of charges doesn't imply guilt. An application for quashing charges will be moved in the Delhi High Court." Reliance Telecom is a part of ADAG.
The 2G scam which, according to the CAG report caused a loss of 1.76 lakh crore to the country, became a rallying point for the movement against corruption in India. There were a lot of cases of corruption in the past of varying degrees but this case was supposedly the biggest and was dubbed as the mother of all scams. The public became so frustrated and disillusioned with the whole thing that people came out on the streets in support of the movement against corruption to support the Jan Lokpal bill. Even Anna Hazare and his team members never fathomed the kind of support they received.
The entire country is waiting and watching the judgement to be delivered with bated breath. They want justice to prevail and the guilty punished. A very severe punishment can be the only deterrent to stop these kind of activities. It is so tragic that those people in power who are supposed to serve the public have so much drifted away from the basic duty of public life, they have totally forgotten that public life and public service go hand in hand. They are so busy working on their personal and political objective that they have totally disconnected themselves with the social objective of a public life. Their personal objective has taken precedence over their social responsibilities. I also have my serious doubts about the involvement of only those people who have been charge-sheeted. I feel that A Raja and his cohorts do not have the stomach to do this just by themselves. A scam of this magnitude has to be be very carefully managed and choreographed. A Raja and others might be the main actors but the producer/director of this gargantuan scam is someone else.
India has embarked on the journey for zero tolerance for corruption and the patience of the entire country is standing on very thin ice. The recently concluded parliamentary by-election in Haryana became a referendum on corruption and the Congress party lost. Unfortunately, most of the people in public life are intoxicated by the cocktail of power and money. This has to change. The country does not only wants it, it needs it.