• Created on Sunday, 25 September 2011 01:00
  • Published on Sunday, 25 September 2011 01:00
  • Written by Punyatma Sharan, Founder/CEO - PolityIndia.Com, has a BA (Political Science) from India and MBA (Finance) from USA.

chidambaramIt would not be an exaggeration to say that to expect Indian politicians (most of them) to conduct themselves in a honest manner is like asking a carnivorous to become a vegetarian.

There are of course some who are honest and good but their honesty and goodness gets lost in the mud of politics and their number is so small that their voices do not have the intensity to become a chorus.

The name A Raja has become synonymous with the 2G scam which resulted in a loss, as per CAG reports, of 1.76 lakh crore to our country. We always thought that the whole thing was the brain child of A Raja and his cohorts but the finance ministry in a note sent to the Prime Minister's Office has faulted former finance minister P Chidambaram for several actions, and inactions, on the controversial 2G spectrum allocation, which is now under investigation by multiple agencies.

The March 25, 2011 note says the telecom department would have been forced to cancel the 2G licences if the ministry of finance (MoF) had stuck to its original demand for auctioning the initial spectrum of 4.4 MHz. The MoF recommendation that all spectrum including the startup spectrum of 4.4 MHz be auctioned was overruled by Chidambaram, the note says. "DoT (Department of Telecom) could have invoked this clause (5.1 of the UAS license) for cancelling licences in case MoF had stuck to the stand of auctioning the 4.4 MHz spectrum," the note says. The finance ministry under Chidambaram "implicitly agreed to imposition of same entry fee as that prevailing in 2001 for licences allotted up to December 31, 2008."

The note prepared by the department of economic affairs under the finance ministry is signed by Dr PGS Rao, deputy director, infrastructure and investment division. It has been seen by the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, says the covering letter to the 11-page document sent to Vini Mahajan, joint secretary in the PMO, on March 25, 2011. The letter was provided by PMO to RTI activist Vivek Garg on an RTI request.

I am not a technical person and do not understand the technical explanation of this note but the finance ministry has made it very clear that if P Chidambaram had not overruled the original proposal, India would have been richer by 1.76 lakh crore. 

This note has opened another can of worms for the UPA government which has the signature of being very weak on corruption and terrorism written all over them. This note has sparked demand for Chidambaram's resignation from the government.

The anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare said that home minister P Chidambaram would have been behind bars had the Jan Lokpal legislation been in existence. The BJP also hoped that the Supreme Court would take note of the letter. "Had he taken the decision in the right manner by following the advice of senior officers of the finance ministry who were advising auction, the country would not have been deprived of revenue in the spectrum allocation," said BJP MP and chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad. The Left parties demanded that Chidambaram should be examined on the issue. "Chidambaram's position, morally speaking, is increasingly becoming untenable. His role as the then finance minister needs to be examined and questioned," CPI national secretary D. Raja said. He also sought an explanation from the Prime Minister on the scam, saying it was all the more necessary when the then telecom minister A Raja is repeatedly asserting that all decisions, including the pricing policy, were taken on the basis of consultations with the Prime Minister. Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said, "When Manmohan Singh became the PM, he was a good person, we did not say anything against him. But, because of he being with the Congress, he has got spoiled; and if people like Manmohan Singh get spoiled by the rot in Congress, then we need to remove that rot,". Former Finance Minister and senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha has called for Home Minister P Chidambaram to be sent to jail. He also wants the CBI to interrogate Mr Chidambaram. ''Chidambaram belongs in Tihar jail, he belongs to the same cell where Raja is,'' Mr Sinha said. 

In spite of the demand, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh rejected the Opposition demand for the resignation of Home Minister P Chidambaram over the 2G issue and made it clear that he will defend all his Cabinet colleagues. "Soniaji has asked all top leaders -- from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to party spokespersons -- to defend Chidambaram and the government," a senior Congress leader said on condition of anonymity. The Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari defended union Home Minister P Chidambaram and said the matter was sub judice as a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) was looking into telecom policy from 1998-2010. My friends in the Congress party attribute this to the internal dissensions in the Congress, talking about how the Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Union Home Minister P Chidambaram were at the loggerheads.

I very strongly feel that P Chidambaram should resign. We are not casting any aspersions on his honesty and integrity but the country has the right to know that what was his motivation in doing what he did. The CBI should investigate his motivation. If the CBI can question Jaswant Singh (former finance minister) about 2G, they should do the same with P Chidambaram. There is no doubt that his situation is culpable. The Congress party's attitude of stonewalling the issue is not going to make the issue go away. This note has the approval of Pranab Mukherjee - the number 2 person in the cabinet. Sonia Gandhi and Dr Manmohan Singh should not do anything which would give the impression that they are trying to shield P Chidambaram. It would further tarnish the already tarnished image of the UPA government. They have to embrace the concept of zero tolerance for corruption and terrorism for their political survival.


+1 # A K Singh 2011-09-26 00:15
I agree with you in that PC should resign and then CBI be allowed to investigate further. These are the same Congressmen who brought so much of shame to an honest man like George Fernandes on a pittance of allegations. Now they are towing the lines of what an Italian asks them to do. The most corrupt party of this country and probably the WORLD. After all, one of the founder of the present democracy has been the biggest selfish and coward man of this world whose dynasty claims to have lived for this country. Liars.
# Kalpana Singh 2011-09-27 15:16
You are so right in demanding P Chidambaram's resignation. Our PM should ask him to resign and he should be then investigated by the CBI. Only an impartial and thorough investigation would determine if Chidambaram's actions were based on ignorance or he had any other motivation.
# Sanjay Pawar 2011-09-27 15:23
You wrote an article on this issue even before it picked up steam in India. I do not agree with Yashwant Sinha's statement that PC belongs in Tihar jail but there is definitely enough prima-facie evidence for him to resign and be investigated. The opening lines of this article is a true reflection of our politicians.
# Alok Jindal 2011-09-27 15:29
Only a very detailed investigation would bring out the truth. I would not be surprised if the money trail leads to 10 Janpath...the head office of corruption and manipulation. Punyatma's demand of PC's resignation is totally jusified.
# Ajay Yadav 2011-09-27 15:32
The UPA government has lost the moral sanction of the Indian people to govern the country. It is time to go for fresh elections.
# Rakhee Sharma 2011-09-27 15:35
Even by the standards of the Congress party, corruption has just gone too far. It is time to go for midterm elections.
+1 # Sanjay Sahay 2011-09-27 21:47
Yes, he must go. How can you save your skin? Even if you were not directly involved, you were the moot spectator. You people fail to read the writing on the walls. "Samar shesh hai nahi paap ka bhagi keval vyagh, jo tathasta hai samay likhega unka bhi apradh". You did allow the things to happen. You must go.
# Anamika Mishra 2011-09-29 18:13
The Home Minister should go. He came with Pranab Mukherjee and other Congress leaders to make a statement before the press today and there was GUILT written all over his face.
# Naveen Vaidya 2011-09-29 18:18
I don't know much about Indian politics. My uncle wants to say that if P Chidambaram resigns, it would be an admission of his guilt. Because of this reason, Sonia Gandhi would not allow him to resign.
# Mukta Dhar 2011-09-29 18:21
There is no transperancy and accountability in the UPA government. It is time to go for parliamentary elections. Even though the process is very expensive, it would help the country get rid of thieves.
# Dr Daya Dayal 2011-09-30 10:58
"Chaddy", as we call him lovingly, should have gone long time back when Bombay(Taj)was attacked...if he survives now we shall see more of his "kartoot" surfacing again. Punyatma could not be more justified and correct in asking the resignation of "loving chaddy".
# Dr Rajay Narain 2011-09-30 17:19
Corruption is eating India just like Cancer cells eat away normal cells in the body, India is amongst the front runners for Corruption capital of the world!!! An ideal place for people who want to see, learn and do Master's & PhD in different types of corruption...Th e need of the hour is clean & honest politicians who have possibly become extinct just like dinosaurs & a thing of the past to be read in story books. India will be left behind for centuries to come if good people don't join politics and change the system NOW!!!!
# Sandhya Sinha 2011-10-02 07:56
Well presented Punyatmaji. But tell me, who is Yashwant Sinha to pass such comments? Can he speak and reveal to the world about the money that he has stashed away? If Chidambaram belongs in Tihar, then so does he. Birds of a feather should flock together, right? Basically, our country is run by a handful of lawyers working from out of court, instead of administrators, thinktanks, policy-makers or nationalists. I guess they all need to read the book by Khurshid Bhavnagari-'law s of the spirit world', just to awaken their conscience.


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