2G: Controversy over FM note refuses to die down

The controversy over a Finance Ministry note seemingly blaming P Chidambaram in the 2G scam has refused to die down.

New Delhi: The controversy over a Finance
Ministry note seemingly blaming P Chidambaram in the 2G scam
has refused to die down with a new document emerging that the
note was "revised" after "consultations" with the Cabinet
Secretariat and the PMO.

At the height of the row over his ministry`s March 25
note on 2G, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee suggested to
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the sentence which appeared
to blame Chidambaram, former Finance Minister, was "revised"
after consultation with the Cabinet Secretariat and the PMO.
Mukherjee wrote to Singh on September 26 last after his
return from New York, where he met the Prime Minister, that
the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) was "not in favour of
sending the note after its finalisation through a formal OM
(office memorandum).

"It was upon the insistence of JS (Joint Secretary), PMO
through her phone calls to Secretary, DEA that the
communication was sent through a formal OM on March 25, 2011."

Mukherjee, who wrote to PM amid a major controversy which
broke out after the March 25 note became public through an RTI
application, referred to one sentence in that note which
sought to suggest that Chidambaram, as the then Finance
Minister in 2008, could have prevented the 2G scam by
insisting on auctioning the 2G spectrum.

"The media and the opposition have specifically picked up
one sentence contained in this note which makes it necessary
to clarify the circumstances in which the said communication
was sent by DEA as also how the sentence appeared in the
note," the two-page letter said.

Giving details, Mukherjee noted that the DEA had sent a
note to JS, Cabinet Secretariat, who replied by email on March
18, 2011.

"The note sent by you has been modified substantially. As
asked by DG, I am mailing you the modified version as
attachment. The modifications have been made keeping in mind
that the facts need to be elaborated extensively,
interpretations which are consistent with the pan government
response needs to be juxtaposed suitably and reconciliation
(to the extent possible) attempted with the past DEA positions
and position being taken adopted now.
"The latter two additions are shaded in green for clear
demarcation. Kindly have a look and come back if you need to
discuss further," Mukherjee`s letter said quoting the email.

Mukherjee said the sentence "after consultations with the
Cabinet Secretariat and PMO" got revised and appeared in
paragraph 17 of the note.

The revised sentence read: "There was a way out by
invoking clause 5.1 of the UAS license, which inter alia,
provide for modification at any time the terms and conditions
of the license, if in the opinion of the licensor it is
necessary or expedient to do so in public interest or in the
interest of the security of the state or for proper conduct of
the telegraphs.

"DoT could have invoked this clause for cancelling
licenses in case the MoF (Ministry of Finance) had stuck to
the stand of auctioning the 4.4 MHz spectrum."

Mukherjee said since the matter is before the Supreme
court, "PM may kindly see for information/action as he may
deem fit".


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