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EXCLUSIVE: Read Pranab's letter to PM on 2G note

Last updated on: November 1, 2011 18:29 IST

EXCLUSIVE: Read Pranab's letter to PM on 2G note

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The controversy over a finance ministry note seemingly blaming P Chidambaram in the 2G scam has refused to die down with a new document emerging that the note was "revised" after "consultations" with the cabinet secretariat and the Prime Minister's Office.

At the height of the row over his ministry's March 25 note on 2G, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee suggested to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the sentence which appeared to blame Chidambaram, former finance minister, was "revised" after consultation with the cabinet secretariat and the PMO.

Mukherjee wrote to Dr Singh on September 26 after his return from New York, where he met the prime minister, that the Department of Economic Affairs was "not in favour of sending the note after its finalisation through a formal OM (office memorandum).

"It was upon the insistence of JS (joint secretary), PMO through her phone calls to secretary, DEA that the communication was sent through a formal OM on March 25, 2011."

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Mukherjee, who wrote to PM amid a major controversy which broke out after the March 25 note became public through an Right To Information application, referred to one sentence in that note which sought to suggest that Chidambaram, as the then Finance Minister in 2008, could have prevented the 2G scam by insisting on auctioning the 2G spectrum.

"The media and the opposition have specifically picked up one sentence contained in this note which makes it necessary to clarify the circumstances in which the said communication was sent by DEA as also how the sentence appeared in the note," the letter said.

Giving details, Mukherjee noted that the DEA had sent a note to JS, Cabinet Secretariat, who replied by email on March 18.

"The note sent by you has been modified substantially. As asked by DG, I am mailing you the modified version as attachment. The modifications have been made keeping in mind that the facts need to be elaborated extensively, interpretations which are consistent with the pan government response needs to be juxtaposed suitably and reconciliation (to the extent possible) attempted with the past DEA positions and position being taken adopted now. The latter two additions are shaded in green for clear demarcation. Kindly have a look and come back if you need to discuss further," Mukherjee's letter said quoting the email.



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Mukherjee said the sentence "after consultations with the cabinet secretariat and PMO" got revised and appeared in paragraph 17 of the note.

The revised sentence read, "There was a way out by invoking clause 5.1 of the UAS license, which inter alia, provide for modification at any time the terms and conditions of the license, if in the opinion of the licensor it is necessary or expedient to do so in public interest or in the interest of the security of the state or for proper conduct of the telegraphs.

"DoT (Department of Telecommunications could have invoked this clause for canceling licenses in case the MoF (Ministry of Finance) had stuck to the stand of auctioning the 4.4 MHz spectrum."

Mukherjee said since the matter is before the Supreme Court, "The PM may kindly see for information/action as he may deem fit."

 

 



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