Skip to main content

India's former telecoms minister Andimuthu Raja is escorted to court in New Delhi on Feb. 8, 2011.

Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images/Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images

India's biggest-ever corruption trial began here this morning at the Supreme Court.

On trial are senior government figures including former telecom minister Andimuthu Raja and member of parliament Kanimozhi Karunanidh, who stand accused of rigging the auction of India's 2G mobile network spectrum, pocketing millions of dollars in kickbacks and depriving the country of a fortune in lost revenue. Some estimates have put the total as high as $35-billion (U.S.).



Today the prosecution is questioning the first of a planned 168 witnesses, including the chair and vice chair of one of the country's largest telecom firms. A total of 17 people face charges in the case, including many senior business figures – making this one of the first graft cases to see broad criminal action against industry leaders.

Story continues below advertisement

The case has riveted the country and been the spur for many of the critical political developments of the past year: as the extent of the alleged plunder has been revealed through charges laid by the Central Bureau of Investigation, the 2G scam has come to symbolize corruption on the part of politicians and bureaucrats to a weary Indian public.

It has helped to fuel the "Team Anna" phenomenon – the 76-year-old anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare has twice staged fasts in central Delhi demanding a new graft law, drawing hundreds of thousands of people to his camp and eventually forcing the government to adopt his plan for the law. The mishandling of the Hazare affair, and a series of corruption revelations, have hamstrung the once-cocksure government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The Supreme Court took oversight of the case after public interest litigants expressed concern that the Indian National Congress-led government was meddling in the investigation to protect political figures.

These accused are charged under the Prevention of Corruption Act with offences including criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery, faking documents, accepting bribes and criminal misconduct by public servant.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter