Tuesday, November 22, 2011

BJP says evidence against Chidambaram watertight

Raja kept PM and PC informed of every decision he took

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee may have cleared the air about the responsibility of home minister P.Chidambaram in the 2G spectrum scam, but the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is convinced that the case against Chidambaram is watertight and it is an open-and-shut case.

A senior leader of the party and one of the senior members of the Vajpayee cabinet from 1998 to 2004 speaking on condition of anonymity had said that Chidambaram had committed all the illegalities that former telecom minister A.Raja had.

He cited the Prevention of Corruption Act, which lays down it is not just the bribe-taker who is culpable but also the person who has facilitated corruption is also to be indicted. He says that Chidambaram had actively helped Raja to get away with his wrongful acts, and therefore his role needs to be probed.

He also refuted prime minister Manmohan Singh's claim that the UPA had followed the cabinet decision of the Vajpayee government taken at the cabinet meeting of 31 October 2003, where it was stated that the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) and the Ministry of Finance (MoF) together would fix the price of spectrum. He clarified that DoT did not have the option merely to consult with the MoF and take its own decision. The Vajpayee cabinet decision was clear: the two ministries have to work in tandem on the spectrum price issue.

He said by Singh's own admission spectrum pricing was taken out of the terms of reference of the Group of Ministers (GoM) had been taken away and the DoT was left to decide on it. Asked whether a cabinet decision of a previous government was binding on the successor government, hhe asnwered that it was binding and it can be overturned only through a cabinet decision. Singh did not take a cabinet decision. Instead he had taken a decision on his own, which is untenable.

The BJP leader had also said that Raja kept Singh in the loop at every stage and on every decision that he (Raja) took, and it was clear that Singh acquiesced in it. In the case of Chidambaram, it was an act of collusion, he said.

Asked whether the BJP is accusing Chidambaram based on a hunch, he replied that he and the party were making the case against Chidambaram based on evidence and cited one of Raja's letters to the prime minister which said that he (Raja) had talked the matter over with the MoF on the issue of spectrum pricing.

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