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Sibal defends PM on 2G scam; flays BJP
Published on 20 Nov. 2010 1:23 AM IST
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: In an exclusive interview to NDTV, Kapil Sibal, who has taken over the Telecom Ministry at a time when it is mired in allegations of corruption, defends the Prime Minister as “a very sensitive man”, and explains why it’s not necessary for the PM to address Parliament on the 2G issue.
The 2G scam has cost A Raja his job as Telecom Minister, and has nudged the Prime Minister into a headlining controversy. Raja has been indicted by the government’s auditor of costing the government close to Rs. 1.76 lakh crore by deliberately undervaluing 2G spectrum in 2008 and selling it to companies that he favored, even though they were largely ineligible for 2G licenses.
Sibal tells NDTV’s Group Editor, Barkha Dutt, that the Supreme Court’s recent remarks against the Prime Minister - are being blown out of proportion, by both the media and the Opposition.
Earlier this week, the court said it was worried by “the silence and alleged inaction” of the PM when a request was put to him to sanction the prosecution of A Raja when he was the Telecom Minister.
He explains why Dr Manmohan Singh cannot be faulted for taking close to a year to respond to a letter that asked for the sanction to prosecute former telecom minister A Raja.
That letter, written by Janata Party President Subramaniam Swamy, has led to what’s described by some legal experts as “unprecedented comments” against the PM by the court.
Sibal also promises a make-over of the Telecom Ministry, and says he will study closely the matter of whether close to 162 licenses of telecom companies should be cancelled - a step recommended yesterday by the country’s Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRAI).
The PM is a sensitive man who will not allow any wrongdoing in his government and that is why Raja, (former minister) Shashi Tharoor and (former chief minister) Ashok Chavan were made to resign, Sibal said and asked the principal opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), if anybody in the BJP-led government had resigned after the Tehelka expose on shady defence procurement procedures.
Mamata supports PM
In the backdrop of 2G Spectrum controversy, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee tonight expressed “full support” to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh but said the party was for a discussion in parliament on the issue to “unearth the truth”. “I had met the Prime Minister yesterday and we are the first party to express full support to him. We are with him and we will be with him.
Our support is for five years. We have already stated that”, Banerjee told reporters emerging from a 45-minute meeting with Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukhjee at his south Kolkata residence here late tonight. With Mukherjee by her side, she said “Pranabda (Pranab Mukherjee) is also for a discussion”.
Banerjee, also the Railway Minister whose party is the second largest ally of UPA-II government, said any issue, including the role of the government, could be discussed in Parliament, to unearth the truth”.

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