The finance ministry note of March 25, 2011 on the 2G spectrum issue that has created a political storm was the result of an inter-departmental effort to mount a common defence before various authorities (including PAC and JPC).
It was the outcome of several meetings and emails exchanged between officials of the PMO, the cabinet secretariat, and ministries of finance, law and telecomm-unications.
Here’s how it came about:
Jan. 28, 2011: Joint secretary in cabinet secretariat sends an email to officials in department of economic affairs (DEA), Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the department of telecommunications (DoT) conveying the draft of DoT’s presentation prepared for submission to the PAC
Feb. 3, 2011: Cabinet Secretary KM Chandrasekhar convenes a meeting on 2G spectrum to decide on “agreed approach while making presentation and deposition before the JPC.” Officials from PMO, DoT, law ministry, DEA attend the meeting
March 15, 2011: Another meeting takes place chaired by the Cabinet Secretary attended by the same set of officials
March 16, 2011: Cabinet Secretary chairs meeting to finalise a “consolidated view"
March 17, 2011: Finance ministry official sends an email to a joint secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat titled: “Chronology of basic facts relating to pricing and allocation of 2G spectrum,” which contains 12 paragraphs.
March 18, 2011: Email sent by joint secretary, cabinet secretariat to department of economic affairs official titled “Chronology of basic facts relating to pricing and allocation of 2G spectrum,” which contained 32 paragraphs, 17 of these highlighted in green and the body of the mail said: “Modifications have been made keeping in mind that the facts needs to be elaborated more extensively.”
March 19, 2011: DEA official replies to the cabinet secretariat with 18 paragraphs of interpretations and observations.
March 23, 2011: Cabinet Secretariat, PMO, DEA and DoT officials meet to discuss “agreed position”. DEA file noting says: “The text of the position was received from Cabinet Secretariat/PMO after discussions of the preceding dates; the chronology of facts was prepared in consultation with the concerned authorities and a base paper to be forwarded to the PMO on March 25, 2011 with the approval of the finance minister.”
March 24, 2011: DEA official sends mail to the cabinet secretariat containing same note on basic facts to apprise it of the “agreed position.”
March 25, 2011: DEA sends note to PMO as an office memorandum with a noting that it has been “seen” by finance minister
April 4, 2011: Cabinet Secret-ariat, PMO, DEA and DoT officials meet to discuss responses on “frequently asked questions” on 2G issue ahead of JPC hearings
May 5, 2011: Cabinet secretary chairs a meeting attended by officials of finance, telecommunications, law and PMO officials to discuss chronological sequence of files presented by the DoT
May 18, 2011: Cabinet Secretariat, PMO, DEA and DoT officials meet to discuss DoT presentation be made before JPC.
June 3, 2011: Cabinet secretary chairs meet attended by finance ministry and PMO officials
July 5, 2011: Cabinet Secretariat, PMO, DEA and DoT officials meet to discuss DEA presentation before JPC
July 6, 2011: Finance minister meets communications minister Kapil Sibal, which is also attended by senior DEA and DoT officials.
July 7, 2011: DEA officials make a presentation before the JPC.