Putting the lid on the 2G background note controversy, finance ministry officials on Wednesday denied minister Pranab Mukherjee’s involvement in its preparation before the joint parliamentary committee (JPC).
The note, initially not given to the JPC, had questioned the finance minister P Chidambaram’s role in the 2G spectrum scandal.
Chidambaram always maintains that his ministry’s objections were overlooked by the telecom ministry while allocating 2G spectrum on first-come-first-serve basis.
Appearing before the JPC, economic affairs secretary R Gopalan, maintained that Mukherjee only “saw” the report but didn’t approve its contents.
When MPs like Gurudas Dasgupta and Ravi Shankar Prasad asked Gopalan who is responsible for creating the report, he said, “it was a collective effort of different ministries. But if any one person needs to be responsible, I take the responsibility.”
Defending the decision to not submit the document voluntarily before the JPC, Gopalan reportedly said the officials felt the document was not relevant. When Dasgupta and Prasad quizzed who decided its irrelevance, Gopalan again took the blame on himself.
In the meeting, a critical Dasgupta emphasised that Chidambaram didn’t try enough to stop the then telecom minister A Raja’s plans to give spectrums without auction.
He even said there was just a ‘shadow-boxing’ between telecom and finance ministries. The panel will quiz Gopalan again on Thursday.