Chidambaram HAS TO step down over 2G scam: BJP
After a Delhi court framed charges against 17 persons in the 2G case, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation to ascertain the role of then finance minister P Chidambaram in the scam and insisted that he should either step down or be sacked to facilitate a fair investigation.
A special CBI court on Saturday framed charges like criminal conspiracy, breach of trust, cheating and forgery against former telecom minister A Raja, Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam Member of Parliament Kanimozhi and 15 others, including top corporate honchos, paving the way for their trial in the multi-crore 2G spectrum scam.
"There are sufficient prima facie charges to prove they are guilty. We hope the trial happens speedily and justice is done. However, questions do remain about those not chargesheeted, who are not being investigated or even questioned for their role in the 2G scam," BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.
Image: Home Minister P Chidambaram with former telecom minister A Raja
'A Raja had engaged in a criminal conspiracy'
The party maintained that a Cabinet decision taken in 2003 states that decisions by the telecom ministry were to be taken only after consultations and the go-ahead of the finance ministry.
"This implies that decisions in the 2G spectrum allocation were taken with the consent of the Cabinet, the finance minister and the prime minister. A Raja had engaged in a criminal conspiracy. The ex-minister continues to say that this particular charge can equally apply to the then finance minister (Chidambaram)," Sitharaman said.
The BJP demanded that Chidambaram should either resign from the post of home minister or be removed. The party also demanded a CBI probe under the supervision of the Supreme Court to ascertain his role in the scam.
Image: A BJP flag
'He has a lot to answer for'
"No fair probe is possible unless he resigns. The then finance minister has a lot to answer for," Sitharaman said.
She insisted that unless the finance minister had given his approval, such a scam would not have been possible, more so as the finance ministry note favoured auctioning of spectrum by the minister who took the first-come-first-serve decision.
BJP alleged that this had led to a massive loss to the exchequer.
The opposition also attacked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for defending Raja and maintaining that he was innocent till the time he was arrested.
Image: A BJP activist wears a mask depicting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during an anti-government protest
'PM should allow the CBI to probe'
"Even the UPA chairperson, who made a commitment to fight corruption at the Congress session in Burari, has not spoken on this issue since then," Sitharaman said. She added that Raja stepped down and was arrested due to pressure from the media and the Opposition, not due to any initiative from the ruling party.
She wondered if Sonia Gandhi's silence on the issue is due to her fear that the investigation might reach the Prime Minister's Office.
"The party in power should now show its will. The prime minister should come out and allow the CBI to probe," Sitharaman said.
Image: Congress president Sonia Gandhi