Controversial note on 2G joint effort by ministries: Official

Written by: Pti
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New Delhi, Jan 11: A top Finance Ministry official told the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) looking into the 2G spectrum scam that the controversial March 25 note on the issue was a "joint effort" by various ministries to harmonise the available facts.

Secretary, Economic Affairs, R Gopalan who appeared before the JPC along with Finance Secretary R S Gujral today, is understood to have informed the committee that the controversial note was based on available facts and was prepared to harmonise the facts available with the various ministries.

Gopalan also informed the committee that as it was a joint effort, he was also responsible for its preparation in his capacity as the senior-most official of the Finance Ministry involved in the process.

Most of the questions during today's meeting were asked by members of the opposition parties and UPA members in the committee would take their turn at a later stage.

A Congress member of the panel claimed that the Finance Ministry officials had come ill-prepared for the deposition.

A senior opposition member claimed that when Gopalan was asked whether the term "seen" means that the note had the approval of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, the ministry official said he cannot comment on the issue.

Some members alleged that the Finance Ministry failed to find out whether the objections raised by them were being followed up by the Department of Telecom and dubbed the entire exercise as "shadow boxing".

According to a 2003 cabinet decision, the Finance Ministry and the DoT were to decide on spectrum pricing based on consultations.

The March 25 note had suggested that then Finance Minister P Chidambaram could have insisted on auctioning the 2G spectrum.


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