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SC dismisses Swamy's plea against Chidambaram

 NEW DELHI, Aug 24 (IANS): In major relief for Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, the Supreme Court Friday rejected Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy's plea to make him co-accused along with former communications minister A. Raja in the 2G spectrum allocation case.

Rejecting Swamy's plea, the apex court bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and S.K. Radhakrishnan said the material made available by the petitioner did not support the allegation.

Swamy had moved the apex court challenging a Feb 4 order by a trial court rejecting his plea to make Chidambaram co-accused and seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe against him.

Allegations of wrongdoing by Chidambaram, which has not been accepted by the apex court, relates to his tenure as finance minister during the first stint of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

Pronouncing the judgment, Justice Radhakrishnan said on the basis of the material placed on record, no prima facie case was made out against Chidambaram for allegedly entering into a conspiracy with Raja for allocating 2G licences in 2008 at 2001 prices.

The court said that a mere meeting between Chidambaram and Raja could not be seen as a conspiracy. There is nothing to show that Chidambaram abused his position to favour anybody, it said.

The court said there was nothing to show that Chidambaram allowed dilution of equity by two cellular operators for any pecuniary gain.

Rejecting the petition by Swamy and an application by NGO Centre for Public Interest and Litigation (CPIL), the court said no wrong has been proved against the finance minister.

Referring to the Department of Telecom (DoT) plea seeking another extension of time for commencing the auction of 122 cancelled 2G licences, the court said the affidavit should come from the DoT secretary.

The court took exception to the fact that the affidavit was signed by an undersecretary.

The government has sought time till Nov 12 for commencing the auction of 2G licences and another 40 days for the completion and allocation of licences.

The first extension given by the apex court ends Aug 31.

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