“He was a part of the decision-making process”
Unfazed by the Supreme Court’s dismissal of a petition seeking to name Finance Minister P. Chidambaram a co-accused in the 2G spectrum case, the BJP maintained that Mr. Chidambaram remains “constitutionally and politically accountable.”
The party’s chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said: “The loss has been caused to the government. [Mr.] Chidambaram was a part of the decision-making process. He is constitutionally accountable, remains politically accountable and that is what we are seeking inside Parliament and will continue to seek in JPC.”
On Wednesday, the BJP members on the Joint Parliamentary Committee had walked out of it after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Mr. Chidambaram were not included in the list of witnesses to be examined by the panel.
Mr. Prasad contended that the huge difference in the pricing of 2G spectrum in 2008 and 2012 left little doubt that the exchequer suffered a huge loss.
“It is well known that the base price of 2G in 2008 was determined at Rs. 1,600 crore, disregarding the advice of Finance Ministry officials to go for auction. In 2012, when the market conditions are adverse the base price has been fixed at Rs. 14,000 crore by a Group of Ministers headed by [Mr.] Chidambaram,” he said.
On the Supreme Court judgment, Mr. Prasad said he would not like to comment without going through the details. He said, “[Mr.] Chidambaram as the Finance Minister was involved along with the then Telecom Minister A. Raja in the determination of 2G spectrum pricing. Dr. Manmohan Singh in Parliament, in our presence, has stated that [Mr.] Raja and [Mr.] Chidambaram came on the same page with regard to spectrum pricing. I accepted that.”