NEW DELHI - An Indian judge on Saturday threw out a petition to prosecute the country's powerful home minister over a huge telecom corruption scandal, bringing some relief to the embattled government.

The plea "to summon Chidambaram as an accused is dismissed," Special Judge O.P. Saini told the courtroom in a brief statement.

The ruling brought a rare moment of cheer to Premier Manmohan Singh's Congress government, whose standing has been battered by the cut-price mobile licence sale, alleged to have cost the treasury up to $39 billion in lost revenue.

"It is a relief," Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters.

The timing of the ruling was an added boon -- coming before Congress faces local elections starting Wednesday in India's most populous state of Uttar Pradesh whose outcome could have an influence on the 2014 general elections.

Regional opposition party leader Subramanian Swamy, who brought the case against Chidambaram, had insisted the government politician could have intervened to avert the tainted sale when he was finance minister in 2008.

Chidambaram has denied any wrongdoing in the sale of second-generation (2G) mobile licences that the Supreme Court cancelled last Thursday, stunning the flagship cellphone sector and embarrassing the government.