New Delhi: Pranab Mukherjee and P Chidambaram on Thursday sought to put an end to the raging controversy over the Finance Ministry note on 2G spectrum with the Finance Minister distancing himself from the statement that sought to blame the Home Minister.

"Apart from the factual background the paper contains, certains inference and interpretations which do not reflect my views," Mukherjee told reporters in the presence of Chidambaram after a day of hectic activities in the Congress camp to douse the fire.

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The joint appearance of the two ministers along with Kapil Sibal and Salman Khurshid came after Mukherjee and Chidambaram had a meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh where the matter was thrashed out.

Immediately, Chidambaram expressed happiness over Mukherjee's statement and said, "I accept the statement and as far as all of us in the government is concerned, the matter is closed."

Chidambaram had been sulking for last one week ever since the surfacing of a Finance Ministry note of March 25, 2011 that had said that the 2G scam could have been avoided had the then Finance Minister had insisted on auctioning of spectrum instead of giving it on 2001 prices.

Mukherjee read out a brief statement that said a number of stories on 2G spectrum had appeared in the media in January 2011.

He said a view was taken that a harmonised note based on facts should be produced for use by various representatives of the government. A group of officers prepared an inter- ministerial background paper which was sent to PMO on March 25, 2011.

"Apart from the factual background, the paper contains certain inferences and interpretations which do not reflect my views. The policy of the government in 2007-2008 was continuation of the policy adopted in October 2003 and as reiterated by TRAI," Mukherjee said.

A visibily satisfied Chidambaram said: "I am happy about the statement made by my senior and distinguished colleague and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee. I accept his statement. As far as all of us in the government is concerned, the matter is closed."

The resolution of the week-long problem comes after the intervention of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who held hectic consultations first with senior leaders Ahmed Patel and A K Antony and then with Mukherjee.

Later, Mukherjee and Chidambaram met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on his return from Sikkim when the two ministers came face to face for the first time after the controversy erupted.

Just ahead of this meeting, Law Minister Salman Khurshid and MoS in the PMO V Narayanasamy met Chidambaram.
"All is well. Don't worry," Khurshid said after their 20-minute meeting with Chidambaram.

That a truce was in the offing was evident when Chidambaram went to the office of Mukherjee in North Block.

The 2G note of the Finance Ministry is believed to have caused frictions between Mukherjee and Chidambaram which the party leadership was keen to end.

The controversial note that was produced in the Supreme Court during the hearing of a case to decide whether CBI should investigate the role of Chidambaram in 2G scam was a godsend for the Opposition.

Parties target Chidambaram

Political parties targeted Chidambaram demanding his resignation and a CBI probe into his role. They contented that the Finance Ministry role was reflective of the serious ego clash between the two senior ministries. Shortly before Chidambaram announced that the matter was closed for UPA, Congress charged BJP with "conspicuously obfuscating" the issue of Finance Ministry's note on 2G scam by stepping up attack on the Home Minister and giving it a flavour of "criminal liability".

"No one is involved in criminal aspect...BJP is conspicuosly obfuscating the issue by giving it a flavour of criminal liability," party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi told reporters.

"It is totally baseless that there is any criminal liability. There is no guilt and BJP is levelling all these allegations to create instability," he said.

Attacking Subramanian Swamy, Singhvi said it was "unfortunate and condemnable that the argument given before the Supreme Court is being given to the people in a prejudiced manner."

Singhvi said he was not trying to give any value judgement. The BJP has been maintaining that Chidambaram is as culpable as A Raja in the 2G spectrum scam.

(Agencies)