New Delhi: With a Delhi court framing charges against 17 persons in 2G case, BJP on Saturday demanded a CBI probe to ascertain the role of then Finance Minister P Chidambaram in the scam and insisted that he should either step down or be sacked to facilitate a fair investigation.

A special CBI court on Saturday framed charges like criminal conspiracy, breach of trust, cheating and forgery against former Telecom Minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and 15 others, including top corporate honchos, paving the way for their trial in the multi-crore 2G spectrum scam.

"There are sufficient prima facie charges to prove they are guilty. We hope the trial happens speedily and justice is done. However, questions do remain about those not chargesheeted, who are not being investigated or even questioned for their role in the 2G scam," BJP Spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.

BJP maintained that a Cabinet decision taken in 2003 states that decisions by the Telecom Ministry were to be taken only after consultations and go-ahead of the Finance Ministry.

"This implies that decisions in the 2G spectrum allocation were taken with the consent of the cabinet, the Finance Minister and the Prime Minister. A Raja had engaged in a criminal conspiracy. The ex-minister continues to say that this particular charge can equally apply to the then Finance Minister (Chidambaram)," Sitharaman said.

BJP demanded that Chidambaram should either resign from the post of Home Minister or be removed and a CBI probe under the supervision of the Supreme Court be ordered to ascertain his role in the scam.

"No fair probe is possible unless he resigns. The then Finance Minister has a lot to answer for," Sitharaman said. 

She insisted that unless the Finance Minister gave his approval, this (scam) was not possible. More so as the Finance Ministry note favoured auctioning of spectrum by the Minister who took the first-come-first-serve decision.

BJP alleged that this had led to a massive loss to the exchequer.

The opposition also attacked the Prime Minister for defending Raja and maintaining that he was innocent till the time he was arrested.

"Even the UPA Chairperson, who in her speech at the Congress session in Burari made a commitment to fight corruption, has not spoken on this issue since then," Sitharaman said, adding that Raja stepped down and was arrested only under media and opposition pressure and not due to any initiative from the ruling party.

She wondered if Sonia Gandhi's silence on the issue is due to her fear that the flames of this fire will reach the PMO if serious investigations are done.

"The party in power should now show its will. The Prime Minister should come out and allow the CBI to probe," Sitharaman said.

PM can’t escape responsibility: Gadkari

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cannot "escape" responsibility in the 2G spectrum scam for which only the alliance partners should not be blamed, BJP President Nitin Gadkari said in Mumbai on Saturday.

"It is not proper to blame only the alliance partners. The Prime Minister has a lot of questions to answer. Holding only former Telecom Minister A Raja responsible won't do. The PM cannot escape responsibility (in the 2G scam)," Gadkari said.

He was speaking to reporters at the traditional Diwali get-together he hosts for journalists in Mumbai each year. Gadkari's comments came after reports that Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and 15 others including top corporate honchos will be put on trial in the multi-crore 2G spectrum scam with a Delhi Court on Saturday framing charges against them for criminal conspiracy, breach of trust, cheating and forgery.

However, to a query on former Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, whose judicial custody has been extended till November 3 in alleged land scam cases, Gadkari said, "I question you. What corruption has Yeddyurappa done? From whom did he take money?"

(Agencies)