The former Finance Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader, Yashwant Sinha, on Saturday demanded that the Supreme Court order the Central Bureau of Investigation to look into the role played in 2007-08 by the then Finance Minister P. Chidambaram in relation to the allotment of telecom licences and 2G spectrum in January 2008.
“The Supreme Court must order investigation against P. Chidambaram [current Home Minister]. It must also order that the Prime Minister's role be investigated [in the 2G matter]. If this is not done, it will be a blow [‘dhakka'] to justice,” Mr. Sinha said.
Addressing a press conference at the BJP office here, he said Mr. Chidambaram had “completely changed” his initial stand that the licences and spectrum must be auctioned. This change of stance has now been established by the documents made public through the Public Accounts Committee's draft report on the subject and through documents revealed through the Right to Information Act. It was only after rounds of meetings with the then Minister for Telecommunication and IT A. Raja that he gave up his insistence on “market discovered” prices for spectrum and came to agree with what Mr. Raja had been maintaining all along.
“Mr. Chidambaram must be sent to jail and put in the same cell where Mr. Raja is [lodged]. [We believe] the Prime Minister is fully complicit [in this].” In fact, Mr. Sinha expressed his admiration for Mr. Raja who had “kept the Prime Minister informed of what he was doing at every step. His [the Prime Minister's] silence meant approval.”
There were several questions that could be posed to the Prime Minister such as why he agreed to the ad hoc cut-off date for applications for telecom licences?
He also attacked the Prime Minister for “defending Raja to the hilt” till Mr. Raja was sent to jail, and now for “defending Mr. Chidambaram.” “When Mr. Chidambaram is sent to jail, he will defend only himself,” he remarked.
Mr. Sinha justified the changeover from licence fee telecom regime to revenue sharing during the NDA government's tenure as well as the entry of Reliance into the telecom market (describing the perception that it was a backdoor entry as a “mis-statement”).
He wondered why the CBI had thought it fit to take a statement from the former Finance Minister, Jaswant Singh, on the telecom policy during the NDA regime and why Mr. Chidambaram had not been asked for his statement.