New Delhi: In a shocking new revelation, media reports suggested on Thursday night that United Progressive Alliance (UPA) ally Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam (DMK) created pressure on the Prime Minister to let its minister-in charge of the Department of Telecom (DOT) do what he wanted as far as pricing of the controversial 2G spectrum sale went.
In a letter allegedly written by DMK leader Dayanidhi Maran in 2006 and addressed to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the party demanded that PM Manmohan Singh keep pricing of the scarce 2G spectrum out of the purview of the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGOM).
The Cabinet Secretary BK Chaturvedi came out with fresh Terms of Reference for the EGOM which followed what A Raja’s party wanted in December 2006. The EGOM was formed under the leadership of Pranab Mukherjee to look into the issues of 2G spectrum sale.
The following is said to be an excerpt form the letter from Maran to the PMO:
“You had kindly assured me that the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the GOM would be drawn up exactly the way we wanted it which was to focus only on the issue of vacation of spectrum. The GOM has much wider Terms of Reference, which impinge upon the work of the ministry itself.”
Not only that, Maran insisted that the Terms of Reference be modified “as suggested by us.”
The above request for favour was also confirmed by former Telecom Secretary DS Mathur.
Reacting to the new development, DMK sources told a TV channel the GOM was any ways not to look into any issue except how much spectrum should be vacated by the defence forces. “Everything was done in a clean and transparent manner,” they claimed.
The letters also reveal that the PM had wanted the issue to be thoroughly discussed between the Department of Telecom and Finance Ministry but the same was rejected by A Raja.
Reacting to the development, the BJP said the fingers were now directly being pointed to the PM and that he should clear the air.
“Earlier the culpability was pointing in the direction of then Telecom Minister Mr A Raja and his department. Then came a second stage where the PM was being accused of inaction. With the latest revelations now being telecast, the Prime Minister’s personal culpability has now increased. It has become extremely serious,” Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitely said.
The BJP Core Group met tonight at the residence of senior leader L K Advani and decided that it would continue to demand the constitution of a Joint Parliamentary Committee to go into the scam as the Public Accounts Committee could go only into audit and accounting matters.
The Congress meanwhile rejected the charges and insisted the truth will come out after the ongoing probe by PAC.