It 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.