2G note: BJP dismisses Pranab’s clarification


New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Thursday dismissed as “untenable” Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s explanation that the controversial note from his ministry on the 2G scam did not reflect his views.

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BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said the finance minister did not answer the main question about loot of public money. He accused Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Mukherjee of being busy in their “ego battle”.

“It is not your internal matter or ego battle to be settled, you are accused, your role needs to be investigated,” Prasad said.

“The country will not believe this completely untenable clarification of Pranab Mukherjee, which is more the result of ego battle of the ministers than a quest for public probity,” he said.

Prasad said that the statement only “deepened the crisis” by revealing nothing and the government stood “exposed before the public of the country”.

He also defended the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.

“The contention by Mukherjee that they followed the cabinet decision of the NDA government is equally untenable and baseless,” Prasad said.

“That decision stated that spectrum pricing and license must be determined in consultation with the finance ministry, which means a transparent mechanism. The moot question as raised by the officers of the finance ministry is why should spectrum and licensing be allocated in 2007-08 at 2001 price,” he said.

Prasad said the note, which was prepared in consultation with the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the cabinet secretariat, the law ministry, telecom ministry and the finance ministry, held Chidambaram responsible.

“Had Chidambaram taken preemptive and prohibitive steps, the 2G scam could have been avoided,” he added.

The March 25 note to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) from the finance ministry said that the airwaves could have been auctioned in 2008 if Chidambaram, who was then the finance minister, had “stuck to his stand”.