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2G Scam: Pranab Mukherjee meets PM

New York: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here against the backdrop of a note by his ministry on 2G scam that has kicked up a political storm back in India with the opposition baying for Home Minister P Chidambaram’s resignation.

The meeting, at the New York Palace Hotel, is unusual as it takes place on foreign soil with the government’s top two leaders discussing domestic issues. Mukherjee, who was in Washington for IMF and World Bank meetings, had to advance his departure the city for the unscheduled meeting with Singh.

The controversial note, prepared by a Finance Ministry official, had suggested that the 2G scam could have been averted had the Finance Ministry then headed by Chidambaram insisted on the auction route instead of 2001 price for allotment of spectrum.

Earlier, talking about his meeting with Mukherjee, Singh had said, “There are a lot of things happening in the world. There’s the global economic crisis. He was at the (IMF-World Bank) meeting. So he would like to brief me. So there is nothing unusual in all this.”

Ever since the Finance Ministry note surfaced, the Opposition parties have been baying for Chidambaram’s blood. On Thursday, the Prime Minister had fully backed Chidambaram and ruled out any infighting among the ministers.

“I don’t know what note you are talking about. The whole 2G matter is before the court. I don’t want to comment on a matter that is subjudice”, he had told journalists accompanying him from Frankfurt to New York.

“As far as Mr P Chidambaram is concerned, as Finance Minister, he had enjoyed my full confidence and as Home Minister he continues to enjoy and inspire my full confidence,” he had said.

Asked whether he will back Mukherjee like Chidambaram, Singh had replied,”Of course all my ministers. They are I think ministers who enjoy my confidence in full.”

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