Continuing her attack against the UPA Government and Congress, the AIADMK on Saturday demanded an explanation from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on charges made by former Telecom Minister A Raja with regard to the 2G spectrum scam of “Himalayan proportions”.
“The Prime Minister and the Home Minister have not given any reply even days after the former Telecom Minister had named them in connection with the scam of Himalayan proportions,” stated a resolution passed at the AIADMK executive council meeting chaired by the party general secretary and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.
The resolution faulted Gandhi, who is also the UPA chairperson, for not expressing her opinion in this matter. “People have a right to know the truth in this matter. The Executive insists that in deference to people’s views, the Prime Minister, the Home Minister and the Congress president should immediately reply to Raja’s charges,” the resolution added.
Later, addressing the media, Jayalalithaa said, “It is people’s right to expect a clarification against such allegations, when they are levelled against head of the Government.”
The reaction of the AIADMK follows Raja’s deposition in the Supreme Court that Singh and Chidambaram (as Finance Minister) were aware of the sale of equity by spectrum licensees as it was discussed with them.
The attack on the UPA Government is part of the ADMK’s strategy to lash out at the Centre, as decided by the party chief few days ago.
On Friday, Jayalalithaa had criticised the Communal Violence Bill, to be tabled in the Monsoon Session of Parliament beginning Monday. One can expect ‘active’ ADMK members in Parliament to join hands with the BJP, Communists and other Opposition parties over these issues.
Raja had lost his post to the 2G scam and he was arrested in the same case. He has been charged with granting mobile network licences and 2G spectrum at throwaway prices to companies not at all eligible to get them.
Some of these companies went on to leverage their licences at huge prices to foreign partners.
In court, Raja denied any crime or conspiracy in the scam.
“Telenor buying a stake in Unitech Wireless and Etisalat buying a stake in DB Realty was totally legal as per the corporate law. The Finance Minister approved the sale in the presence of the PM. Let the Prime Minister deny it… What the telecom companies do after I give them spectrum is not my domain,” Raja had argued in court. Chidambaram has already rubbished the claims of Raja, while Singh has been silent.
Jayalalithaa also elaborated on the Sri Lankan Tamil issue and charged the Centre of not responding to the resolution passed in the Assembly demanding economic sanctions against Sri Lanka.
She noted that the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton responded more positively to her arguments on Sri Lanka when the two met on July 20.
At the executive meeting, the AIADMK has also sought the rollback of hike in the prices of petrol and diesel. She announced that her party MPs would take up the issue of retrieving the island of Katchatheevu, ceded to Sri Lanka in by Indian in 1974, in the Parliament.
While her party seems to have changed stance strengthening its criticism of the UPA, Jayalalithaa continued with her stance on the Lokpal bill that the Prime Minister should be out of the anti-graft bill. She stressed that if the Prime Minister is brought under the Lokpal ambit, it would undermine the Prime Minister’s authority and lead to formation of a parallel Government. Her view is opposed to that of the DMK which last week passed a resolution asking for the Prime Minister to be included under the Lokpal.