Pranab says he will comment on 2G issue only in IndiaSeptember 24th, 2011 - 7:22 pm ICT by IANS
New York, Sep 24 (IANS) Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is arriving here Saturday night to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh amid a raging controversy back home over a note of his ministry on the role of Home Minister P. Chidambaram in the allocation of 2G spectrum.
Mukherjee, who is expected to meet Manmohan Singh only Sunday, told a a group of Indian journalists in Washington, that he will speak on the issue only when he reaches India Monday.
“I told you that my question is only addressed to that (2G). What is to be told there, I will tell it there (in India), not now,” he said.
Mukherjee, who is in Washington to attend the World Bank-IMF meetings over the weekend was scheduled to fly back home Sunday, but changed his plans in view of the controversy, according to diplomatic sources. However, he would be leaving only after fulfilling all his engagements in Washington, officials said.
He is expected to fly to New York Saturday night and stay in the same hotel as the Prime Minister.
Mukherjee had Wednesday acknowledged the existence of the March 25 note that said the airwaves could have been auctioned in 2008 if Chidambaram, then the finance minister, had “stuck to his stand”.
He, however, avoided direct comment on the note from his ministry, saying the matter was sub judice.
In the note, the finance ministry says Chidambaram, one of the government’s most high-profile ministers, could have prevented spectrum from being given away at throwaway prices by insisting on its auction - implying that presumptive losses worth thousands of crores could have thus been avoided.
The note, which was apparently shown to Mukherjee and accessed by an application under the Right to Information Act, was prepared by a deputy secretary in the finance ministry and sent to the Prime Minister’s Office March 25.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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