Sep 26, 2011 - S. S. Negi |
As the Supreme Court resumes further hearings on the finance ministry’s note to the PMO allegedly holding then finance minister P. Chidambaram and communications minister A. Raja jointly responsible for fixing the 2G spectrum price, the court is also set to examine 30 other crucial letters and notes exchanged at the highest levels on the issue.
The details of all these documents have been placed on record by Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy.
Apart from the 'revealing' March 25, 2011 note sent by the department of economic affairs to the PMO, the other letters and notes exchanged at the highest level include 12 communications from the PMO to the finance ministry, seven letters and notes by the DEA to the PMO and two 'endorsement notes' by the PMO of October 8 and December 1, 2008.
The 12 communications from the PMO to the finance ministry were sent between July 29, 2005 and November 25, 2008, while the DEA’s letters to the PMO were between June 13, 2008 and November 3, 2008.
Besides the 21 communications between the PMO and the finance ministry, Dr Swamy placed on record a chart on 10 letters exchanged between the Cabinet Secretary, finance secretary and telecom secretary on the question of referring the 2G spectrum price issue to the Group of Ministers headed by Pranab Mukherjee.
Raja letters, meet with Chidambaram under scanner
On the GOM issue in the 2G spectrum case, the Cabinet Secretary sent three letters to the finance secretary and the same numbers of communications were sent back by the latter.
Apart from this, two letters of former communications minister Raja to the PM on February 28 and November 16, 2006, opposing referring of the spectrum price issue to the GOM were also placed on record.
An identical letter of telecom secretary on June 15 to the finance ministry, explaining the reasons for not referring the spectrum price issue to the GOM, are expected to be examined by the top court on Tuesday.
The documents revealed that the Cabinet Secretariat had been consistently asking the finance ministry to refer the spectrum issue to the GOM and it was even supported by the DEA till its latest referred communication of June 6, 2007. But the January 30, 2008 meeting between Chidambaram and Raja seemed to have finally clinched the issue by deciding the price fixation without placing before the GOM.
The minutes of the January 30, 2008 meeting, which the government earlier said did not exist, but now placed on record by Mr Swamy, stated that “finance minister (Mr Chidambaram in the meeting) said that for now, we are not seeking to revisit the current regimes for entry fee for revenue sharing”.
It was noted in the meeting between the two ministers that “there is a mismatch in the demand and supply of spectrum across circles. Redressing this mismatch will be another policy imperative,” the minutes recorded by the then finance secretary D. Subbarao said.
Swamy had alleged that the January 30 meeting between Chidambaram and Raja proved the 'clincher' for fixing the price at Rs. 1,650 crores as base entry fee for 2G spectrum, which was the price actually fixed in 2001.
Source : Asian Age