Pranab treads cautiously on 2G note

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New York.

Updated: Sep 25, 2011, 23:43 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New York: Amid raging storms back home over a finance ministry note on the role of Home Minister P Chidambaram in the allocation of 2G spectrum, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New York.

This was the first meeting between the two leaders after the 2G note controversy. The meeting took place at New York Palace Hotel. Highly placed sources in the government informed that the meeting was sought by Mukherjee. The meeting was unusual as it took place on foreign soil with government`s two top leaders discussing domestic issues.

Mukherjee, who was in Washington for IMF and World Bank meetings, had to head to New York for the unscheduled meeting with Singh.

Talking to reporters after an hour-long meeting with the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister refused to speak on the 2G issue.

"I am sorry. I cannot make any comment on it,” the Finance Minister said while being asked by reporters on the 2G note. “The matter is sub-judice. I am not here to satisfy your infinite inquisitiveness,” he said.
“It would not be proper on my part to make any comment on that issue at this point of time,” Mukherjee said.

“Unless I talk to Law Ministry, Home Minister P Chidambaram and other party leaders, what comment should I make,” the Finance Minister said. “I need to go through all related papers.”

“Why should I comment on domestic issues outside India…I am not a fugitive,” he said.

The Finance Minister also described Home Minister Chidambaram as his "valued colleague”.
The controversial note prepared by a finance ministry official had suggested that the 2G scam could have been averted, had the Finance Ministry then headed by Chidambaram, insisted on the auction route instead of 2001 price for allotment of spectrum.

The Prime Minister had yesterday rejected the Opposition demand for the resignation of Home Minister Chidambaram over the 2G issue and made it clear that he would defend all his Cabinet colleagues.