The statement of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee about the controversial note putting Home Minister P Chidambaram in poor light regarding 2G spectrum scam has, however, temporarily watered down the bitterness between the two stalwart ministers, but it clearly appears that the solution to the problem is simply superficial. Chidambaram and the government will not get relief until the Supreme Court and Joint Parliament Committee (JPC) do not term it as insignificant. It is not surprising that despite the clarification of the Finance Minister and the Home Minister’s satisfaction thereon, Chidambaram is in the firing line of the Opposition and there is a continuous demand of his resignation on the ground of the Finance Ministry’s note. If in addition to the BJP the Left Front too is aggressive in this connection, it reflects the gravity of the letter of the finance Ministry which was sent to the PMO. The note carried the contents, if the then Finance Minister wanted, he could have stressed on the auction of the 2G spectrum. It is highly significant because the letter was prepared not only by high-officials of the Finance Ministry rather the top brass of the PMO also saw it before the note assumed the dimension of an office memorandum.

As the note which came out of closet under RTI has put Chidambaram in the dock, common people have got the perception that everything is not hunky-dory between the two high-end leaders of the Congress-led UPA government. How this letter became a sore point for the Centre when one can understand it that the Finance Minister had to wrap up his Washington trip to meet the PM in New York and Chidambaram had to silence himself till the arrival of Manmohan Singh.

It is obvious that Chidambaram felt hurt because the controversial note has briefed his role in the allocation of 2G spectrum. His displeasure vividly spells out that he was not alone in connection with the decision made by the Finance Ministry of not stressing on the auction of the 2G spectrum. However, Chidambaram has put an end to the stir after the statement of Pranab Mukherjee regarding the controversial note which had come out, but it cannot be ignored that more facts could surface regarding the letter in coming days. Because, with the fissure having developed between Pranab Mukherjee and Chidambaram in the allocation of the 2G, it palpably indicates, neither did the former minister A Raja take all decisions on his own nor was Chidambaram in his capacity of the Finance Minister put a bar on the allocation of 2G spectrum on the basis of first-come-first-get policy and stress on their auction instead. Raja categorically said during hearing session in the court that all decisions regarding the allocation of 2G were made by the then Finance Minister and the Prime Minister was also taken into confidence and they should be summoned. The Congress has dubbed Raja’s statement as insignificant considering it as a proposition of an accused, but it is clear everyone is escaping collective responsibility for making decision regarding the allocation of 2G during the UPA-I that cost the nation Rs 1.76 lakh crore.

The way the Congress-led government pulled up the Opposition and media for the crisis triggered by the controversial note is simply ridiculous. In this regard the PM even made statement that the Opposition is desperate for mid-term poll. The Union Law Minister termed this letter as insignificant and said that it was just the comment of junior officials, but the moot point is that if the note was so immaterial, why had it not been produced before the JPC which is probing the 2G scam? It is pertinent, why did the letter, being dubbed unimportant, land the government in a soup? It is disappointing that the Congress is trying to put the 2G scam and the loss incurred owing to it under the carpet. Surprisingly, there is a bid to re-estimate the revenue loss in the wake of 2G scam. No matter what the plea is being made by the Centre and especially the Congress, but the fact remains that owing to the 2G scam, not only a former Union Minister but also a DMK MP, Kanimozhi, along with big fishes of many companies was put behind the bars.

The controversial letter which went public raising fingers towards Chidambaram’s role also indicates that the CBI probing the 2G scam is also not moving in right direction. This premier investigating agency is not only groping in the dark but also being accused of working under the pressure of the Central government.  If the CBI does not attach importance to the Finance Ministry’s letter, common people will be compelled to reach to the conclusion that the intelligence agency is not keen on exposing the story hatched behind the scene. Come what may, the gesture made by the Centre especially the Congress after the truce forged between Pranab Mukherjee and Chidambaram regarding the letter, indicates that they will not easily buckle down before the Opposition, but it is also obvious that the Opposition will also not discard the issue. Because, it is yet to be clarified what was the motive behind the letter that not only made two senior Union ministers cross their swords but also put Chidambaram at loss? If it is assumed that the letter was prepared to make that all the ministries have same perception regarding the 2G scam, however the nub of the matter is why the finger was raised towards Chidambaram in the letter. Another important question is, why did the government take one week’s time to make clarification about the letter?

(An original copy of the article published in Hindi on October 2, 2011 translated by the English Editorial. The author is Group Editor of Dainik Jagran)