There is absolutely no responsibility that can be foisted on Chidambaram: Sibal

Terming the special court's dismissal of a plea against Home Minister P. Chidambaram in the 2G case a “good judgment,” the Centre on Saturday said the verdict vindicated its stand that the then Finance Minister had no role in the matter and all allegations against him were politically motivated.

Senior Ministers said it was a triumph of truth, and lambasted the Opposition, particularly the BJP, for making “irresponsible” statements against the government and Mr. Chidambaram.

“We always knew that our colleague [Mr. Chidambaram] in Parliament and in the government is absolutely not culpable for anything against him that were put forward by [petitioner] Subramanian Swamy. I know the evidence…there is absolutely no responsibility that can be foisted on my colleague,” Communications Minister Kapil Sibal told journalists here.

The judgment also came as a huge relief for the government just two days after the Supreme Court ordered cancellation of all 122 2G licences issued in 2008 by A. Raja as Telecom Minister in UPA-I. The apex court indicted Mr. Raja for wrongful implementation of the telecom policy, besides declaring the allocation of 2G spectrum as “illegal” and an example of the arbitrary exercise of power.

Welcoming the judgment, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee told journalists in Kolkata that “it is a relief because somebody was unnecessarily being prosecuted…Even the Supreme Court judgment clearly mentions that the advice of the Finance Ministry was not listened to.”

Expressing similar sentiments, Mr. Sibal said the apex court's verdict also made it clear that Mr. Chidambaram was not culpable for anything. Accusing the Opposition parties of vitiating the political environment, the Minister charged that they were seeking to take political advantage and trying to influence the court. Defending Mr. Chidambaram, Mr. Sibal said in fact, it was he who had told Mr. Raja that he should have adopted a market-driven mechanism to find the price of spectrum.

Law Minister Salman Khursheed said the judgment was “a relief” for the government. “I am happy for Mr. Chidambaram as well as the system after the judgment…the judgments are delivered on merit based on pleas and counter-arguments made in a courtroom. He [Mr. Chidambaram] is an important and significant member of the UPA government,” he added.

However, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni targeted Dr. Swamy saying that he did all this to keep himself in focus. “We all know Dr. Swamy for years. It is not for the first time that his petition has been dismissed. Earlier also he has moved many petitions and all his pleas were dismissed. He did it to keep himself in focus in the public domain.”

Media draws flak

Notably, the media, particularly the news channels, took the flak from the government for the coverage on the matter. “I think the system has gone wrong. The way the TV channels host debates one day before the hearing as if they will tend to influence the hearing and direct in which [way] the judiciary should go. This is something that has to be deprecated. Therefore, all those institutions which are responsible for disseminating information should also reflect on the role they should play in the context of very serious cases before the court,” Mr. Sibal said.

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