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More trouble in store for Chidambaram

delhi Updated: Dec 09, 2011 00:27 IST

The opposition's call for Home Minister P Chidambaram's ouster intensified on Thursday with a special CBI court permitting Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy to prove his claim of the minister's alleged complicity in the 2G spectrum scam.

Sensing that the government appeared to be on the back foot after having given in to opposition demand of suspending foreign equity in multi-brand retail, the opposition members again created a ruckus in Parliament on Thursday demanding Chidambaram's ouster.

The Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had decided to boycott Chidambaram in Parliament and did not allow the House to function when the winter session opened on Nov 22. In fact, on the first day of the winter session, Chidambaram was not allowed to give an answer as the opposition kept shouting.

Sources said the BJP intends to continue to boycott him and press for his ouster.

Chidambaram was not in the Lok Sabha in the morning as he was attending an exhibition on homeland security at Pragati Maidan.

He refused to comment when journalists asked him about the issue, choosing to walk away and visited several stalls in the exhibition.

BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi demanded a probe into Chidambaram's role in the 2G scam when he was finance minister in 2008.

"In this situation, Chidambaram should submit his resignation on his own, or else prime minister (Manmohan Singh) should sack him," Joshi told reporters.

But the government fully backed the home minister.

Law Minister Salman Khurshid said: "There is no case against Chidambaram. The court has not yet given any indication as to whether it agrees to a case against Chidambaram or not."

The law minister clarified the court had not passed any order against Chidambaram and that it was a procedural step to allow Swamy a right to be heard on his complaint.

He lashed out at the BJP and said opposition members should first study the order properly before stalling parliament.

Swamy has sought to make Chidambaram - a former finance minister - a party in the case, saying the decision on spectrum pricing was taken jointly by him and former communications minister A. Raja, who is lodged in Tihar Jail.

Swamy had earlier deposed before the court as a witness ahead of the chargesheet being filed in the 2G case.

The court asked Swamy to get himself examined and record his statement Dec 17.

Swamy had also sought to examine Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officials concerned "to establish the nexus of accused persons with others, who have intentionally not been made accused by the prosecuting agency".

The CBI clarified that the special CBI court at Patiala House here, hearing the 2G spectrum case, has permitted Swamy to record his statement and not necessarily to examine the witnesses.

While the Supreme Court has reserved order on Swamy's plea for a probe into Chidambaram's alleged role in the 2G scam, two DMK MPs, former communications minister A. Raja and Kanimozhi, who are accused in the case, had also sought the court's permission to summon him as a witness.

Meanwhile, a court in Tamil Nadu is hearing a petition challenging Chidambaram's 2009 Lok Sabha election.