News agency IANS published a story about a development in the 2G spectrum case. The IANS story was published through a syndicated automated feed.
Indo-Asian News Service or IANS, is a private Indian news agency based out of Noida, Uttar Pradesh. Similar to PTI and ANI, the news agency distributes news content to different media houses in the form of a syndicated feed.
The news agency IANS published a story on October 5, 2022 as a recent development in the 2G Spectrum allocation case. The article states that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed its first charge sheet against former Union Telecom Minister and leader of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, A. Raja.
The IANS article also claims that corporate companies such as Reliance Telecom, Swan Telecom, and Unitech Wireless are charged as co-accused in the case.
The IANS report claims that former telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura, Unitech Sanjay Chandra, DB Realty boss, its Managing Director Vinod Goenka, and Swan Telecom Managing Director Shahid Balwa are also named in the charge sheet. It is also claimed that the sale of the 2G spectrum occurred when A.Raja led the Telecommunications and IT Ministry, as per IANS.
The news agency IANS published a story which states that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed its first charge sheet against former Union Telecom Minister A. Raja. The charge sheet was filed as part of its investigation into the infamous 2G spectrum scam.
The story was republished by several news websites such as Business Standard, Deccan Herald, and Zee News.
The Logical Indian Fact-Check team verified the viral claim and found it to be false. The report regarding the charge sheet against A Raja dates back to 2011.
We conducted a keyword search for the '2G Spectrum case' and came across a report by The Indian Express published on December 21, 2017. The report noted that a special CBI court had acquitted former telecom minister A Raja in the 2G spectrum allocation cases.
The Indian Express
The 2G spectrum auction scam is regarding the alleged irregularities in the distribution of the 2G spectrum licenses to telecom companies in India. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) estimated that the loss due to the irregularities was at 1.76 lakh crore rupees.
These licenses were provided to applicants who had reportedly "suppressed facts, disclosed incomplete information, submitted fictitious documents and used fraudulent means for getting licenses", as per a News18 report. The case came to light in 2010 when the then Comptroller and Auditor General, Vinod Rai, alleged that 122 2G licences were given to telecom operators without a free and fair bidding process. In 2009, an NGO 'Telecom Watchdog' filed complaints to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) alleging irregularities in the allocation of the spectrum.
On the basis of these complaints, the CBI filed its first First Information Report (FIR) against unnamed officials of the Department of Technology (DoT), and people from various private companies. The investigation agency filed its first charge sheet on 2 April 2011. The trial in the case began in 2011. The licences were discarded by the Supreme Court on February 2, 2012, as per the Indian Express report.
The case ended in December 2017, after a special CBI court acquitted all 17 accused in the case. This included A.Raja and Thoothukudi MP Kanimozhi Karunanidhi.
While looking through the IANS report, we noticed that it carried the most recent update about the 2G Spectrum case. The report notes that A.Raja and other accused in the case were acquitted, which contradicts the headline which claimed that the CBI had recently filed a chargesheet against the DMK leader.
We came across a tweet by Jency Jacob, a journalist and managing editor of BoomLive, a fact-checking website. In the tweet, he tagged IANS and pointed out that the news agency has published the 2G Spectrum story based on a front-page advertorial that republished The Times Of India's front page article of April 3, 2011.
We checked the front page of The Times of India print edition published on October 5, 2022. We found that the print edition on April 3, 2011, and the print edition on October 5, 2022, carried the same headline and content.
The April 3, 2011 edition of the Times of India is below:
October 5 front page of The Times of India:
The October 5, 2022 edition carries a notice that the front page is the same as on April 3, 2011, as a part of an advertorial by Oreo. The disclaimer of the front page read, "Today's front page is not a mistake. TOI is joining Oreo to #BringBack2011 to help Team India bring back the Cup. Oreo is launching itself again in 2022 because when it launched in 2011, Team India won".
We also found the story's digital version on The Times of India's website, published on April 3, 2011.
IANS also provided a clarification on its official Twitter page stating that the story was "erroneously released and is withdrawn."
We found that the report regarding the charge sheet against A.Raja dates back to 2011. The report was originally published as a Times of India report. Due to a mix-up, the report was republished by IANS in its syndicated feed as a recent development. This old report was republished again across several media outlets. Thus, we can ascertain that IANS published an old story as a recent one.
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