H C Singh

Extent of Chidambaram’s Involvement in Telecom Scam

Government of India’s Finance Minister, P Chidambaram was associated with A Raja then Telecom minister from early 2006. When a number of ministers including Chidambaram as a member for telecom policy of government, particularly spectrum prices: A few days later, Dayanidhi Maran (now in jail for masterminding Telecom scam) submitted to PM revised note on spectrum prices. A year later Finance secretary too wrote to Deptt of Telecom for inclusion of spectrum prices in terms of reference. A few months later in 2007 finance secretary wrote to cabinet secretary to resolve the problem of spectrum prices. Cabinet Secretary left the matter to be resolved by finance secretary and telecom secretary. In the meantime PM asks A Raja who continued with the policy of first come first served but infact always used his discretion to award spectrum licenses to men and firms of his choice. In these days there was regular correspondence between A Raja and PM. Though Chidambaram was finance secretary, he remained a silent spectator or his consent was taken for granted.

Deptt of economic affairs questioned as to why spectrums were being auctioned at 2001 prices. After informing finance minister Chidambaram, Deptt of Economic affairs suggested that spectrum be auctioned after revising the 2001 prevailing fee. It is surprising that Chidambaram even then did not take any direct action.

Chidambaram was not only ineffective finance minister but when he became Home minister and there were terrorist attack on Delhi High court and earlier, he proved equally to be in effective. In the meantime there was hostility between Chidambaram and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherji who openly said downgrading Chidambaram that “a number of stories on 2G spectrum had appeared in the media in journey 2011” Chidambaram was very much disturbed, as it is said he must have spent sleepless nights in view of note from finance ministry on March 25, 2011 to PM accusing Chidambaram for his note in 2G spectrum scam. The next day Mukherji met the Supreme Court which was hearing on 2G scam because of Subramanian Swamy’s petition Chidambaram immediately contacted the PM and offered to quiet from the government as home minister. But PM, to save his governments prestige persuaded Chidambaram not to press for his resignation.

How long Chidambaram can face insult after insult heaped on him by his hostile and even inimical finance minister Mukherjee? Mukherjee’s note had said that Chidambaram had written to the Prime Minister in January 2008 recommending auction of spectrum but had meant only new spectrum. BJP leader Arun Jaitley immediately took political advantage of the attack by Mukherjee and inability to challenge it by Chidambaram. Arun Jaitley concluded “the March 25 note makes a factual recording of all that happened. It records all the various factors at play and other documents and says this loss (of lakhs of crores of rupees) could have been prevented” Sushma Swaraj, BJP leader in the Lok Sabha said” Prime Ministers support to Chidambaram could not be based either on facts or on merits of 2G controversy.” Thus Chidambaram is going to face storm in Parliament as well as in Supreme Court. Though PM has persuaded him time and again not to resign but Chidambaram has finally decided that he will not contest 2004 elections and virtually quite. However Chidambaram has to appear before Supreme Court and explain his conduct in 2G scam in association with A Raja.

November 29, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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