Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal on Thursday rejected the Oppositions charge that the Supreme Courts decision quashing 122 2G licences was an indictment of the government and sought to turn the tables on the BJP by saying it censured the 2003 first-come first-serve policy initiated by the NDA government.
Making a spirited defence,Sibal sought to insulate Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and senior leadership of the government including then finance minister P Chidambaram from the policy decision on 2G licences in 2008,arguing that they were done by his predecessor and then telecom minister A Raja,who is now in Tihar jail.
There is no indictment of the Prime Minister or the then Finance Minister (Chidambaram) in the Supreme Courts judgment. If there is any indictment it is of the 2003 policy of the NDA government and we only followed it, he told a press conference shortly after the Supreme Court judgment on the issue. It is the BJP which must therefore apologise to the nation, Sibal said,clearly going on the offensive.
Before addressing the press,he held a meeting with the PM on the issue.
Sibal maintained that then telecom minister Raja was the only one to blame for irregularities in the 2G spectrum licences allocation. That is why Raja is where he is, he said. The Supreme Court has clearly said that the then minister (Raja) did not pay heed to the good advice of both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Finance Ministry.
The senior minister,however,sought to strike a balancing note by insisting that the DMK is a valued ally of the UPA and will continue to be so. Asked whether Chidambaram was guilty of omission by not preventing the scam,he said how can he be blamed if there was no time for him to know that some wrong was being committed. None could know as the decisions in the telecom ministry were taken within no time, he said.