August 24, 2012 / 5:47 AM / 8 years ago

SC relief for Chidambaram in 2G telecom case

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a petition seeking the investigation of Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram over his alleged role in the 2G telecom case.

Palaniappan Chidambaram waves during a function to mark the 25th Raising Day of Indian National Security Guard (NSG) in Manesar, about 60 km (38 miles) south of New Delhi, October 16, 2009. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/Files

Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy, who had filed the petition seeking to make Chidambaram a co-accused in the case, said the judgment was not based on “fair arguments” and that he will ask for a review.

“I did not argue conspiracy. The judges have ruled on conspiracy, from what they read out,” he told television channel CNN-IBN.

Chidambaram was finance minister when companies were awarded 2G telecoms licences at rock-bottom prices. Former telecoms minister Andimuthu Raja and several company executives were arrested in connection with the case.

Swamy argued that Chidambaram should also be made a co-accused because “he caused national loss”.

The government is estimated to have lost up to $32 billion in revenue after the underpriced sale of telecom licences.

The court judgment comes as a relief to the Congress-led coalition government, which is facing the heat over the ‘Coalgate’ case, with opposition parties stalling parliament demanding the resignation of the prime minister over alleged corruption in the sale of coal concessions to private companies.

Last week, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) accused the government of allocating coal blocks, power projects and land for Delhi’s flagship airport at a fraction of market prices.

The judgment on Chidambaram was welcomed by the Congress party, which said it was a vindication of their stand.

“They (opposition) should put a lid on this matter,” Law Minister Salman Khurshid said.

Writing by David Lalmalsawma; Editing by Tony Tharakan

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