Heed Tata's 'banana republic' statement: Pawar



New Delhi: Amid the tape controversy, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Tuesday said the government should take note of Ratan Tata's statement that India risked turning into a 'banana republic'.

"When a person like him makes a statement, I think we should take him seriously," Pawar said on whether he had raised the issues taken up by the USD 73 billion Tata group supremo Ratan Tata at the UPA meeting yesterday.



The leader of the Nationalist Congress Party, an important ally of the ruling UPA, added: "He (Tata) is not an ordinary man. I am not saying he is a rich man but he definitely commands respect not only in India but also outside."

Tata had taken strong exception to the leakage of his conversation with his PR person Niira Radia.

In an interview, Tata said that what had happened in the last few weeks was an indication of what could happen anytime. "Then we are really going down the root into a Banana Republic."

On the issue of CBI probe into the loan bribery scam, Pawar cautioned against excessive use of the agency and said if it started investigating every case where concession was made, "my worry is banks and bank officials will not take any decision (on granting loans)...

"I could not understand what is the responsibility of the finance minister and what is the responsibility of CBI."

On what is the way forward, he said while detailed investigation was a must if something had gone wrong, but "simultaneously we have to see situation should not go to that level where nobody will take any decision."

Pawar dismissed suggestions that CBI investigation into corporate dealings could impact the government's relations with India Inc, saying: "There will not be any impact. If somebody has done wrong, the government's duty is to investigate into it.

"If CBI or the state has serious information, it is their responsibility to investigate the matter."

Incidentally, Ratan Tata yesterday moved Supreme Court for a probe into leakage of tapes containing his private conversations with Radia and seeking to make CBI, the Union Home Secretary and the Income Tax Department respondents to the case.

The tax department had tapped the phones of Radia as part of its investigation into alleged irregularities in allocation of 23 spectrum.

Yesterday, CBI filed in the Supreme Court a fresh status report on its ongoing investigation into the 2G spectrum scam allegedly involving former Telecom Minister A Raja.

PTI