Govt refutes Behura's claim, says no record of meeting | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Govt refutes Behura's claim, says no record of meeting

Telecom minister Kapil Sibal today contested the claims of former telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura over a December, 2007 meeting held regarding entry fees for 2G licences, in which he had said the then finance minister P Chidambaram and former finance secretary D Subbarao were present.

delhi Updated: Jul 28, 2011 12:16 IST

Telecom minister Kapil Sibal on Thursday contested the claims of former telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura over a December, 2007 meeting held regarding entry fees for 2G licences, in which he had said the then finance minister P Chidambaram and former finance secretary D Subbarao were present.

"We have looked into records. The records show that there was no such meeting. Neither Chidambaram (now Union home minister) nor Subbarao (now RBI governor) remember any such meeting," Sibal told PTI.

He said, "It is surprising that the then telecom secretary (Behura), who joined (department of telecom) on January 1, 2008, is referring to a meeting of December 4, 2007, when he had no personal knowledge of the meeting and has not produced any document to support veracity of his submission."

Opposing the framing of charges of corruption and other penal offences against him in the case, Behura told special CBI judge OP Saini on Wednesday that Subbarao had decided against revising the entry fee of Rs 1,659 crore for 2G licences and if he is not an accused in this case, he (Behura) too should not have been put on trial.

"Subbarao finalised the decision taken in the meeting of December 4, 2007, that the policy stood approved and the entry fees (of Rs 1,659 crore fixed in 2001 during NDA's regime) need not be revised," Behura's counsel Aman Lekhi said in the court.

Behura has been behind bars for the past six months.

"Even the finance minister (then P Chidambaram) was also present in the meeting (held on December 4, 2007). If Subbarao, who was part of the finance ministry, did commit no wrong, how come I did," Behura's counsel had said.

"This is the danger of taking arguments made on behalf of an accused and treating them as evidence and gospel truth," Sibal said.

The Opposition had earlier demanded Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chidambaram's resignation after former telecom minister A Raja had dragged their name into the 2G scam, followed by Behura Wednesday, in the special court hearing the 2G scam.

"So taking the submissions of an accused in court are self evident, since he would like to protect himself by any means whatever, even on the basis of non-existent facts," Sibal said.