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2G Spectrum Scam: The scandal that shook Indian politics

The 2G scam was a major election issue in the Tamil Nadu assembly election and the 2014 Lok Sabha election.

December 21, 2017 / 02:14 PM IST
a raja 2g case 2g scam 2g spectrum case

a raja 2g case 2g scam 2g spectrum case

The trial court on Thursday is set to give its verdict in the 2G Spectrum Allocation Scam.

The 2G Spectrum Scam involved issuing of 122 licenses of the 2G spectrum to 85 companies including many new telecom companies with inadequate experience in the sector. The allocation of the spectrum was made at a price set in year 2001.

The scam not only costed the Indian exchequer estimated USD 15.03 billion, but also impacted politics. The 2G Spectrum Scam, among others dented Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA)'s image at the Centre and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) government in the state of Tamil Nadu, where one of the key accused A Raja hailed from.

LIVE: Follow the latest updates about 2G spectrum scam on our live blog

The scam was believed to have costed around USD 15.03 billion to the Indian exchequer.


Impact on Tamil Nadu politics

While price rise and nepotism in politics were major issues, one of the biggest poll issues was the 2G Spectrum scam. The telecom minister accused in the scandal was DMK's A Raja.

A Raja was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in relation to the case. Rajya Sabha member and then Chief Minister M Karunanidhi's daughter was also chargesheeted by the CBI few days before the state went for voting.

Political pundits said that the five years of DMK rule in the state and as part of the ruling coalition in the Centre, unduly helped members of the DMK's ruling family members business and politics.

The opposition parties including J Jayalalithaa's All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) repeatedly characterised the DMK rule as a dark era in the state's history and said that the 2G Scam had shamed the people of the state.

Following DMK's loss, Congress leader Jayanthi Natarajan admitted that 2G spectrum scam played a major role in the DMK-Congress alliance's defeat. However, she re-iterated that they had done everything they could to take action against individuals responsible for corruption.

Allegations that cracked the Centre

According to political pundits, multiple corruption cases had eroded the UPA regime's image.

A year before the 2014 General Election polls, the DMK abruptly quit the UPA before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) vote against Sri Lanka, citing that Congress' stand would not help Sri Lankan Tamils' cause.

However, experts suggest the withdrawal was actually the result of fractures caused by A Raja's arrest by CBI, two years ago.

The opposition, including Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s 'star campaigner' Narendra Modi highlighted corruption allegations levelled against Congress and its allies during the 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign.
first published: Dec 20, 2017 10:25 pm
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