Happy to be kept out of 'chewing gum' controversy: Chidambaram

Written by: Pti
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P Chidambaram
New Delhi, Jul 26: Home Minister P Chidambaram is happy that he was kept out of the ''chewing gum'' controversy that rocked the North Block office of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

"First of all nobody has come to any conclusion that it was a chewing gum or anything else. I was happy I was kept out of the loop. Otherwise I would be accused of quote, unquote by a section of doctoring the report. I was quite happy on being kept out of the loop," he told PTI.

He was responding to a question on the controversy of the alleged snooping of the offices of Mukherjee and his aides in the North Block in 2010 September and that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said that Chidambaram was not informed about his direction to IB to conduct a probe into it on a "need to know" basis.

"Certainly not," Chidambaram shot back when asked whether the controversy has affected his relationship with Mukherjee.

Asked whether he shared a cordial and happy relationship with him, he said, "well, you count the number of times we talk to each other." Chidambaram said media has to invent ghosts that don't exist.

Asked about the Prime Minister's criticism about the media being the judge and the jury, he said, "you cannot describe that criticism as unjustified. Similar criticism has been made by every political leader of the country as well as abroad."

To a question whether there was any lesson from what is happening in the UK in the wake of phone hacking incident involving media mughal Rupert Murdoch''s News of the World, Chidambaram said "mercifully, in India no one has become as powerful as Murdoch.

"If anyone has illusions about being a Murdoch, I hope that his enthusiasm in that directions is being dampened to what happened to Murdoch."

On cross holding in media, the Home Minister said it was a debate going on for many years and he could not see any solution in sight.


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