With the CBI alleging violation of norms by NDA Ministers in 2G spectrum allocation, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday said it had no issues with any investigation into the matter but wondered why the probe agency had not found any evidence against UPA leaders Dayanidhi Maran and P. Chidambaram.
At a hearing of the case, the CBI on Friday informed the Supreme Court that it had found violation of norms by Arun Shourie and Pramod Mahajan, who were Telecom Ministers in the NDA government, and maintained that the role of the then Finance Minister, Jaswant Singh, also needed to be examined.
“As far as the BJP is concerned, we are very clear that any investigation can be done [into] the NDA regime as far as telecom allocation is concerned. We have ourselves said in Parliament that the 2G case can be investigated from 1998 itself. We are proud of the expansion of mobile and telephone connectivity achieved during our regime and we have nothing to hide,” BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
However, he insisted that the role of the UPA government — especially that of the then Finance Minister, Mr. Chidambaram, the former Telecom Minister, Mr. Maran, and officials in the Prime Minister's Office — should also be probed.
“What amazes us is the rank double standards and discrimination by the CBI in spite of voluminous evidence on record showing the intimidation by Mr. Maran of a particular company. Yet the CBI is saying there is no evidence,” Mr. Prasad said.
He insisted that there was voluminous evidence to indict Mr. Maran, Mr. Chidambaram and others.
“No licence was given to Aircel for two years. Then Maxis Communication was made to take over Aircel. Then Maxis, through a conduit company, invested in the family concern of Mr. Maran,” Mr. Prasad said, adding that it was only then that Aircel got the licence.
The BJP alleged that despite all evidence, the CBI was “deliberately ignoring” the facts. “It is patently clear that there is discrimination,” Mr. Prasad said.
He pointed out that the UPA government had ignored a decision taken by the NDA Cabinet in 2003 that spectrum allocation be done only after consulting the Finance Ministry on pricing.
“The then Finance Secretary and other Finance Ministry officials had clearly stated that auction should be done [in 2G allocation]. Why did the then Finance Minister [Mr. Chidambaram] sit over the file..... The spectrum was sought to be sold at 2001 prices,” Mr. Prasad said.
He asked why the PMO wanted to be kept at arm's length and demanded that its role be also probed.