Chidambaram should resign or be dismissed: BJP
Referring to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's letter to the Prime Minister in the 2G Spectrum case, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday alleged that Home Minister P Chidambaram was involved in the scam and demanded that he should resign or else be sacked immediately.
"The finance ministry officials were telling the then finance minister P Chidambaram to go for auctions. Why was it not done? There are clear contradictions here. I strongly demand that either Chidambaram should resign or he should be dismissed forthwith," senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi told newsmen.
Click NEXT to read further...
Image: Home Minister P Chidambaram
'Why PM didn't take timely action to prevent scam?'
Citing several "anomalies" in the process of 2G Spectrum allocation, Joshi sought to know why Prime Minister Manmohan Singh did not take timely action to prevent the scam.
"It is most disgraceful that a finance minister (Chidambaram) has pushed the country into a scam. The prime minister should also answer why he was so easily misled. Everything was in his knowledge," Joshi said.The BJP further demanded that the "exact quantum of loss" to the country due to this scam should be determined by the present Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and made public.
Image: Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh
'CBI should probe PC's role in 2G scam'
Joshi said the Central Bureau of Investigation should also inquire into the role of Chidambaram in the scam. "I also want to ask CBI that despite so much evidence being there against Chidambaram, why did it not question him on his involvement," Joshi said.
He also asked Mukherjee to speak out about his letter to the prime minister, saying only the scam is sub-judice and not this document.
He alleged that Chidambaram, who was at the "helm of affairs" as finance minister, was "clear that there should be no auctions".
Referring to reports that Prime Minister Singh has asked Chidambaram not to act in haste, the BJP leader said there has already been a lot of delay and Chidambaram should own up responsibility and quit.
Posing several questions on the anomalies in the process adopted by United Progressive Alliance-I in 2G allocation, Joshi said the suggestion that the matter be put up before the concerned Group of Ministers was also not followed.
Image: The CBI office in New Delhi
'UPA-II is steeped neck deep in corruption'
Insisting that as per the rules, the telecom and finance ministries had to jointly take the decision of whether to go for first-come-first-serve or auction, he said the latter was equally culpable.
Joshi, who as Public Accounts Committee chairperson, has looked into the 2G spectrum issue in detail, said the use of spectrum and entry fee for the licensee were the "crux" of the whole issue.
"The entry fee is determined on the basis of size of the market, the number of users and so on. There is also an improvement in technology over a period of time. Spectrum cannot be sold in 2008 at 2001 prices," he said.
The BJP also sought to know what Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal has to say in the light of this new letter. "Sibal had earlier said there was zero loss. What happens to that statement now," he asked.Joshi alleged that the UPA-II is steeped "neck deep in corruption" and now the "needle of not just suspicion but certain role points towards the then finance minister".
Image: Dr Singh with Congress President Sonia Gandhi
'PM should drop Chidambaram from cabinet'
"It is quite clear that Chidambaram is deeply involved in the 2G spectrum scam, which according to the CAG's report has caused a loss of over Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the Indian exchequer," she said when asked about the finance ministry's note to the prime minister's office that Chidambaram, the then finance minister, could have insisted on the spectrum auction."The CBI should proceed against Chidambaram, as they did against A Raja", Jayalalithaa said.
Image: Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa