2G spectrum scam case verdict: Will history be kinder to Manmohan Singh?
New Delhi, Dec 22: History does not spare anyone, not even the greatest and powerful rulers of all times. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh knows the fact too well to stake claim on anything that he does not deserve.
Back in 2014, during the fag end of tenure of the second regime of United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre, Singh at a press meet famously stated on how history would look at him as the two-time PM of India.
"I honestly believe that history will be kinder to me than the contemporary media, or for that matter, the Opposition parties in Parliament," Singh told.
More than three years since the soft-spoken economist-turned-politician confidently made the prediction about his own reputation as a former head of the country, it is clear that he was backed by facts to counter allegations of massive corruption against his regime.
On Thursday, when a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in the national capital acquitted all the accused in the 2G spectrum scam case, including former telecom minister A Raja and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) MP Kanimozhi, it was in a way vindication of the UPA's policies under the leadership of Singh.
The second tenure of the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre from 2009-2014 was mired in various corruption scandals including the Commonwealth Games scam, 2G spectrum scam and Coalgate scam.
However, it was the 2G scam, as it's popularly known as, which badly dented the reputation of the former PM and his party because of the amount of money involved in it--an estimated 1.76 lakh crore loss to exchequer as calculated by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India.
On Thursday, dealing a body blow to the CAG and CBI's estimation of huge loss in grant of 2G licences, Special CBI Judge OP Saini in his 1,552-page verdict in the case held that some people "artfully" arranged few selected facts and created a scam "when there was none".
"I have absolutely no hesitation in holding that prosecution has miserably failed to prove any of the charges against any of the accused," Saini said in his verdicts in three separate cases related to the 2G scam in a packed courtroom on the Patiala House premises.
With the judge's pronouncement on the controversial case that there was no scam at all, indicating that it was a conspiracy to malign the Congress-led UPA-II government, Singh stood triumphant as he was cleared from the ignominy of heading a government that was "corrupt to the core".
Reacting to the verdict, Singh said, "I don't want to boast anything. The court's judgement has to be respected. The court has pronounced unambiguously that the massive propaganda against the UPA was unfounded."
"The judgement speaks for itself," the former PM added.
The stunning verdict came as an anti-climax in a case that had been repeatedly highlighted by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) during the 2014 general election campaign as the hallmark of corruption in the then UPA regime.
The BJP turned the arbitrary award of radio frequency to telecom providers into a major political issue and put the UPA-II government on the mat.
The Congress is now demanding an apology from PM Narendra Modi and former CAG Vinod Rai for "cooking" up a scam for political gains.
The Congress alleges that the alleged corruption cases against the party were used by the BJP and Modi to tarnish the image of the UPA government which subsequently helped the saffron party to win the Lok Sabha elections in 2014.
It was allegation of "corruption" against the previous government at the Centre run by Singh that proved its nemesis resulting in just 44 seats being won by the Congress in the last parliamentary elections.
In the same old press meet in 2014, when Singh was asked about being a "weak" PM as alleged by the BJP, he had said, "I do not believe that I have been a weak Prime Minister. That is for historians to judge. The BJP and its associates may say whatever they like."
Now, when historians will go through his 10 years rule at the Centre, they would have to definitely admit the fact that "propaganda" against Singh, known as a man of measured-word, by his critics did a lot of harm to the reputation of the former PM.
Will history be kinder to Singh? Only future holds the answer to the loaded question. But a jubilant Congress already believes that the latest verdict on the 2G scam case will help Singh to get some sympathy from the writers of history books.
Yes, history will be kinder.— Congress (@INCIndia) December 21, 2017
Former PM Dr. ManMohan Singh on #2GScamVerdict#CongressIsClean pic.twitter.com/u3aPl43N67