FM note controversy awaits PM’s arbitration
Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and home minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday took the2G note issue to the doorstep of the Prime Minister, who is keen on ending the political impasse between his key cabinet members. HT reports. The spectrum saga | All roads lead to PMdelhi Updated: Sep 29, 2011 10:46 IST
Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and home minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday took the controversial 2G note issue to the doorstep of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is keen on ending the political impasse involving two of his key cabinet members.
Mukherjee wrote a four-page letter to the Prime Minister to set the record straight that the March 25 note, being attributed to his ministry, was actually an inter-ministerial document supervised by the cabinet secretariat and the prime minister’s office.
HT reported first on September 24 that Mukherjee, in his letter, narrated the sequence of events that led to the preparation of the note, and also made it clear that his ministry had no role in making it public.
The much-anticipated meeting between Mukherjee and Singh, however, did not take place on Wednesday.
With the Prime Minister scheduled to visit quake-affected Sikkim on Thursday, the earliest the meeting between the UPA government’s big two is likely to take place only after Singh’s return that evening.
The government is likely to release a comprehensive statement on the issue shortly.
Chidambaram, who had promised not to speak till the return of Singh from the US, continued to maintain silence on the issue. He was present at the lunch hosted by Singh in the honour of former British prime minister Tony Blair.
Chidambaram is understood to be in favour of a clarification to put an end to the doubts over his role as then finance minister in the 2G spectrum allocation.Meanwhile, with no major statement coming from the government, the opposition BJP stepped up its attack. The leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, charged the Prime Minister with protecting "tainted ministers."
Mukherjee’s letter to Singh — that follows his meeting with Singh for almost an hour in New York on Sunday and Congress president Sonia Gandhi hours after his return on Monday —also showed that the finance ministry had initially given only 12-14 paragraphs for the note. The spectrum saga
“It is pointed out that in our inputs, no inference on any minister’s role were drawn. We had only narrated the factual position,” said a finance ministry source. The cabinet secretariat was directly supervising the preparations where other ministries like law, telecom and even the PMO submitted their inputs. The letter also says that 35 paragraphs were finally sent back to the finance ministry by the cabinet secretariat for the vetting of the finance ministry.
Swamy plea to be heard on Oct 12
Home minister P Chidambaram got a breather on Wednesday after a Delhi court deferred Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy's petition seeking to prosecute Chidamabaram in the 2G spectrum allocation scam till October 12.