Coming out strongly in defence of home minister P Chidambaram, the government on Saturday rejected allegations that he, as finance minister in 2008, was party to A Raja’s decisions for which the former telecom minister is now facing a criminal trial.
While the BJP is boycotting him in Parliament, Janata Party chief Subramaniam Swamy is seeking judicial intervention to include Chidambaram as an accused in the case.
The finance ministry had argued for revising the licence fees and auctioning of spectrum, but the Centre finally stuck to the original policy of bundling of spectrum with licences, issued on ‘first-come-first-serve’ principle.
"During the period up to the issue of Letters of Intent on January 10, 2008, Raja did not hold any meeting with Chidambaram. DoT turned down the suggestion of revision of entry fee and maintained that — based on TRAI’s recommendations — it would continue with the same policy that had been followed since 2003," telecom minister Kapil Sibal said.
“As Finance Minister, it was Chidambaram who raised the issue of revision of entry fee,” Sibal said, adding that attempt by the opposition to foist any culpability Chidambaram is not “only irresponsible but is yet another desperate attempt to make the institution of parliamentary democracy dysfunctional.” “Chidambaram is a valued colleague and has discharged his responsibilities without fear or favour and with absolute integrity and devotion.”