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Pranab bowed to pressure from head of family, says BJP

Source: PTI
October 03, 2011 19:48 IST
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Insisting that the controversy over the finance ministry note on 2G spectrum issue with inferences against P Chidambaram is not over, Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday said Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has bowed to wishes of the "head of the family" and asked him to clarify where he disagreed with it.

Joining issue with Law Minister Salman Kurshid on his comments that the March 25, 2011 note was merely an office memorandum, senior BJP leader and Public Accounts Committee Chairperson Murli Manohar Joshi found several loopholes in his contention.

"Salman Kurshid has said all is well, and the note was just an office memorandum. He has also said that what A Raja was doing was as per the policy, nothing against. He maintains that the then finance minister did not do any wrong. After all, how could a finance minister alone change the policy; it is a matter to be decided by the Cabinet," Joshi said.

The BJP leader quoted Mukherjee's comments on the note and that he did not agree with the inferences. "Pranab Mukherjee has said that the document is right but he does not agree with the inferences. First of all, we would like to ask what inferences does he not agree with?

Where does he disagree? Which inference? Is there any inference in it?" Joshi said. He described the finance ministry note as a "perfectly valid document" which had followed the rules of procedure set for preparing an office memorandum.

Asking why Mukherjee agreed to a truce if does not agree with the inferences, Joshi said the minister seems to be in agreement with the note but bowed down to "pressure of the circumstances and of the head of the family", an apparent reference to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who had intervened to bring about a reconciliation.

Joshi alleged that government was trying to downplay the significance of the March 25 document to save Chidambaram.

"It is a secret document. It is signed by a deputy director of the ministry of finance, department of economic affairs. The documents say these are facts of the case," Joshi said, arguing about its significance. He added that the dates of meetings and details about exchange of letters between the ministries given in the note are accurate.

"They are trying to reduce its importance...Trying to mislead the people and also trying to mislead Parliament and the Supreme Court as discussions are on there too on these issues," Joshi said.

Referring to the FM note, the BJP leader maintained that it states that what Chidambaram has done was against the policy. He insisted that the note holds Chidambaram guilty of not going for auctions and of giving away spectrum in 2008 at 2001 prices, which is the crux of all the allegations.

"We want to know which para or contention the present finance minister does not agree with. This is a fact-sheet," Joshi said, and specifically sought to know if Mukherjee was in disagreeement with no-auction policy.

Taking on Kurshid, Joshi asked why he was misguiding and "whom he was trying to save". "He has accepted that there are differences. We want to know what differences? Where?" Joshi said, adding that he maybe a good lawyer but cannot defend a "defenceless case".

He insisted that this was "a very clear-cut case" for dismissing Chidambaram from the Cabinet.

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