Montek Singh Ahluwalia vouches for the PM's integrity
Ahluwalia, speaking in an interview with a television channel said that those who were not accusing the Prime Minister of being vigilant enough had a wrong notion of how the cabinet works.
Speaking in the interview, he said, "So while I think 2G clearly became a problem I don't think it became a problem because it was mishandled at the PMO level before all these decisions were taken."
He said that Manmohan's letter to former telecom minister A Raja asking him to exercise transparency and fairness but not following up to check if his advice was followed cannot be held against him as Raja had assured him, of following the established policy.
Ahluwalia said, "I don't think that the prime minister should be behaving as the super minister, supervising everything that his colleague does. He raises the issue, he got an assurance from the ministry that they were following established policy and that it had been approved by the solicitor general."
And added, "Now in an environment like that, remember, if something wrong or unfair is being done by a ministry, people affected take the matter to court, they protest... if the PM keeps monitoring, then we are not running a Cabinet government, we are running something like a micro-managed form of government."
Defending the January 2008 note that said Manmohan Singh wanted his office to be kept at a distance over the developments in the telecom sector, Ahluwalia insisted that those who interpreted it as a desire to "wash hands off a mess", were grossly wrong.
He said, "Well, it is true that this item of news has been played up quite a bit but it is one of the most gross misrepresentations of the fact. The facts are actually extremely straightforward."
And added, "The idea that the prime minister must be watching over the shoulders of every ministry goes completely against any kind of principle of how Cabinet government should work."