CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat has demanded to know if the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) would include in its investigation the office memorandum from the Finance Ministry to the Prime Minister’s office showing that Home Minister P. Chidambaram had, while holding charge of Finance, played an active role in deciding the price of 2G spectrum in 2008.
Inaugurating the new State committee office of the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) here on Thursday, Ms. Karat pointed out that the letter had not been letter by any of the Opposition leaders or the Left parties, but the second most important Minister in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Cabinet after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The office memorandum from the Finance Ministry clearly showed that there was a conspiracy involved in deciding the 2G spectrum price and that the government owed an explanation to the people about Mr. Chidambaram’s real role in the 2G spectrum scam, she said.
The CPI(M) leader said that the argument that benefits of economic growth under the new policy regime would percolate from the top to the lower layers of society, being propounded by the advocates of neo-liberalism, was more suited to explain the manner in which corruption was spreading top-down under the UPA government. Like the river that gets polluted all along its course once the source is polluted, the entire system of governance under the UPA was getting corrupted from the very source of power, she added.
Coming down heavily on the Planning Commission’s position that Rs. 26 constituted adequate private daily individual expenditure on food, education and health in the rural areas, Mr. Karat asked the Prime Minister, who is also chairman of the Planning Commission, to clarify what was the justification for this finding. The Planning Commission had arrived such a conclusion at a time prices were shooting through the roof, the latest trigger being the hike in petrol price, the situation was likely to turn worse the government takes away the subsidy on cooking gas. The Left was of the firm view that the government should revive the administered pricing mechanism in respect of petroleum products, she said.
Speaking on the occasion, Leader of the Opposition in the Kerala Assembly V. S. Achuthanandan said that Mr. Chidambaram’s role in the 2G spectrum scam should be seen along with his ‘collusion’ in the lottery scam in Kerala and the way he was ‘pulling strings’ to delay grant of Presidential assent for the Plachimada Coca Cola Victims Relief and Compensation Claims Special Tribunal Bill passed unanimously by the Kerala Assembly.