2G: CBI to probe Mahajan tenure, BJP sees red
The BJP asked the CBI to probe Union Home Minister P Chidambaram's role in 2G spectrum allocation.
New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has come down heavily on the Congress and the Central Bureau Of Investigation (CBI) after the later filed an FIR on the 2G spectrum allocation during former telecom minister Pramod Mahajan's tenure and asked the agency to instead concentrate on Union Home Minister P Chidambaram instead.
BJP spokesperson and MP Prakash Javadekar defended the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance Cabinet's decision on spectrum allocation and called the CBI's move to register cases against officials on alleged irregularities in the 2G scam as a "political conspiracy".
Javdekar said, "The CBI should concentrate on Mr Chidambaram's role in the 2G scam instead of dragging in the late Pramod Mahajan."
Accusing the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance Government of trying to protect Chidambaram, the BJP claimed that the CBI has been diverting the attention from Chidambaram.
"This case has been filed to prevent a probe against then Finance Minister P Chidambaram. We had submitted proof against him recently and the Prime Minister has himself accepted that the 2G allocations were made only after Chidambaram gave his nod. So both Raja and Chidambaram are equally guilty. This is a case of complicity and equal responsibility," Javadekar said while reacting to the CBI's move to investigate discrepancies in 2G spectrum allocation the NDA regime.
"The NDA Cabinet took the right policy decision. What is happening now is part of a political conspiracy and is a last ditch effort to save Chidambaram. This is the worst political abuse of CBI by the Congress," Javadekar said.
Additional allocation of the 2G spectrum during the late BJP leader and the then telecom minister Pramod Mahajan's tenure will be investigated with the CBI registering a second FIR.
After the FIR, the CBI conducted raids at Vodafone office in Mumbai and Airtel office in Gurgaon. The residences of former telecom secretary Shyamal Ghosh and former director of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) JR Gupta have also been raided by the investigating agency.
Defending Mahajan, Javadekar said, "All decisions were taken by the Cabinet and did not favour any company." He alleged that Congress was back to its "old tricks".
"There was Congress complicity in the 2G spectrum case. It is not a franchise corruption but a coalition corruption in which Congress is equally responsible," Javadekar said.
The CBI has registered the second FIR in the 2G spectrum case to investigate about discrepancies in 2G spectrum allocation during the NDA government.
The CBI also conducted raids on Saturday at Vodafone office in Mumbai and Bharti Airtel office in Gurgaon. The residences of former telecom secretary Shyamal Ghosh and former director of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) JR Gupta have also been raided by the investigating agency.
Mahajan was telecom minister between 2001 and 2003. The raids come after the Supreme Court order for a preliminary investigation into all spectrum allocation from 2001 to 2007. However, Mahajan has not been named as an accused since he died in 2006.
The case is a follow up of the Supreme Court ordered preliminary enquiry in which spectrum allocation during tenures of former telecom ministers Mahajan, Arun Shourie and Dayanidhi Maran were being probed.
The CBI's preliminary enquiry report had indicted the late BJP leader Pramod Mahajan for causing losses to the exchequer and favouring private companies, as telecom minister.
Mahajan had allotted additional spectrum beyond 6.2 MHZ and upto 10 MHZ by charging only additional 1 per cent revenue share.
According to sources Mahajan's decision had caused revenue loss of Rs 565 crore to Department of Telecom (DoT).