Reacting to the court verdict, the BJP said the 'corrupt image' of the Congress won't change .
Buoyed by the trial court verdict, the Congress on Saturday said the matter regarding Home Minister P Chidambaram’s alleged involvement in 2G scam should be allowed to rest and asked the BJP to apologise to the nation for the “vilification” campaign, but the BJP said the corrupt image of the Congress won’t change because of the verdict.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said BJP owes an “apology” to the nation for the “campaign of calumny, vilification and innuendo” in the matter.
Differing with the Congress over the verdict, BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “This verdict will not change the corrupt image of the government or the intensity of our campaign... The issue of political accountability of Chidambaram remains alive... We will continue to raise the matter of his accountability before the nation.”
Mr Tewari stressed that there was nothing at all in the 2G matter for the government to be ashamed of or take moral responsibility.
“Now that both courts have spoken, the Supreme Court and the trial court on substantively the same issue, the matter should be allowed to rest,” Mr. Tewari said when asked whether Congress considers that the trial court order has given a clean chit to Mr. Chidambaram, the former Finance Minister.
Mr Prasad said, “This decision is of a lower court. There are two higher courts to go, as there is hierarchy of courts,” adding that “there is overwhelming evidence of corruption” in the grant of licences in 2G spectrum.
Attacking BJP and other Opposition parties over the issue, Mr Tewari said political parties, especially the BJP, owed an apology to the nation for the campaign of calumny, vilification and innuendo they had carried out over the past one year.
Mr. Tewari also rejected contentions that the party should take moral responsibility for the handling of 2G allocation.
“There is nothing at all, which the Government has to be ashamed of. There is nothing for which we have to take moral responsibililty...If at all there has been an indictment, it has been of the process.
Mr Prasad said the party was very clear that there was enough evidence against Chidambaram in public domain. The BJP would continue to pursue the matter before the people of the nation.
Another BJP leader Jaswant Singh said, “I don’t think it is a disappointment, because it is not the end of the story”.
On the court’s pronouncement on the policy of first-come first-serve, the Congress spokesperson said it was put in place by the NDA.
“The court had not said a single word about the so-called estimated loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore, which was being talked about for last one year,” Mr Tewari said.
'Battle will follow'
Maintaining that a “protracted legal battle” would now follow on Mr. Chidambaram’s alleged involvement, CPI(M) leader Nilotpal Basu said the apex court order cancelling 122 2G licenses had quoted “government’s own policy paper to say the then Finance Minister was jointly responsible for the pricing of spectrum”.
There was “overwhelming evidence” that Mr. Chidambaram and the then Telecom Minister A Raja had consulted each other on the issue, the CPI(M) leader claimed.
Mr. Basu also said “there is no evidence to show that the former disagreed or tried to stop” the move to go for a first-come, first-serve policy on granting spectrum licences.
CPI National Secretary D Raja said his party would examine the court order dismissing Mr. Subramanian Swamy’s plea to make Home Minister P Chidambaram a co-accused in the 2G scam case.