New Delhi: Home Minister P Chidambaram on Thursday clarified that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called him amidst questions being raised on his role in the controversial 2G spectrum allocation.
Informing the media, the Union Home Minister said, “PM had called me last night from Frankfurt and spoke to me regarding the controversy.”
“I have assured him that I shall not make any public statement on the subject until he returns to India,” he added.
The PM is currently in the United States to attend the UN General Assembly meet.
Clarifying further over a perceived tussle between him and Union Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee from whose office the mail was sent, Chidambaram said, “Pranab Mukherjee also called me up over the issue to express solidarity. There are no differences within the government.”
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is understood to have expressed full faith in Chidambaram’s integrity, amid a raging controversy over his stand on 2G spectrum allocation.
During a 20-minute call from Frankfurt where he made a overnight halt on his way to New York, Singh discussed with the home minister the issue of a 10-page note sent to the Prime Minister`s Office(PMO) by the Finance Ministry in March last.
The note that became public after the Prime Minister had left Delhi on his foreign tour suggested that the scam could have been avoided if the Finance Ministry, then under Chidambaram, had insisted on spectrum allocation through auction. The minister has since been under attack.
The Prime Minister is believed to have counselled Chidambaram "to be patient" till he returns home from New York on September 27, highly placed sources said.
Importantly, the Congress party has stood solidly behind the home minister on the issue, saying that it is wrong to doubt Chidambaram’s integrity.
Although, there have been murmurs about Chidambaram role in 2G allocation for some time now, the issue gained steam after a `secret note`, sent on March 25, 2011, on the allocation and pricing of 2G spectrum came out in the open yesterday.
During their telephonic conversation, Manmohan is also said to have told Chidambaram that the "secret" note was not shown to him.
The note broadly suggested that Chidambaram, as then former finance minister, could have insisted for an auction of the valuable resource at the time spectrum was sold on a first come, first served basis when A Raja, now behind bars, was the telecom minister.
The note submitted to the Supreme Court yesterday by Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy during a hearing on his petition was written by PGS Rao, Deputy Director in the Finance Ministry, to Vini Mahajan, Joint Secretary in the PMO.
The covering letter to the note also said that Pranab Mukherjee had seen the document.
Mukherjee today refused to comment on the letter sent by his Ministry to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the 2G spectrum scam, saying he cannot make any remark on the matter is it was "subjudice".
But he did accept the existence of such a letter. He said, “In fact today a sensational news item has come and it is through the exercise of the RTI. A note was sent by Minister of Finance to Prime Minister. Somebody demanded through the use of RTI to have the copy of that note from the Prime Minister`s Secretariat ... fact of the matter is somebody has produced that as a piece of evidence in a particular case."