Pranab to discuss `2G note` with PM in New York

Pranab Mukherjee will meet PM Manmohan Singh in the wake of a controversy over the role of P Chidambaram in the allocation of 2G spectrum.

New York: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is in Washington, is coming here on Sunday to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the wake of a controversy over the role of Home Minister P Chidambaram in the allocation of 2G spectrum.

Mukherjee is in Washington to attend the World Bank-IMF meetings over the weekend. He was scheduled to fly back home on Sunday, but changed his plans in view of the controversy, according to diplomatic sources.

He was also scheduled to address the media in Washington later Friday instead of Sunday as planned earlier, but he is unlikely to speak about the Finance Ministry note on the second generation (2G) spectrum case to the Prime Minister`s Office.

In New York, Mukherjee had on Wednesday acknowledged the existence of the March note saying the airwaves could have been auctioned in 2008 if Chidambaram, the then finance minister, had "stuck to his stand".

He, however, avoided direct comment on the note from his ministry saying the matter was sub-judice.

In the note, the Finance Ministry says Chidambaram, one of the government`s most high-profile ministers, could have prevented spectrum from being given away at throwaway prices by insisting on its auction -- implying that presumptive losses worth thousands of crores could have thus been avoided.

The note, which was apparently shown to Mukherjee and accessed by an application under the Right to Information Act, was prepared by a deputy secretary in the Finance Ministry and sent to the Prime Minister`s Office on March 25.

Manmohan Singh and Mukherjee called up Chidambaram over the controversy on Wednesday night and were assured that he will not speak on the issue till their return.


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