NEW DELHI: In a move that could cause more trouble for Mr P Chidambaram, a special CBI court on Thursday allowed Janata Party leader, Mr Subramanian Swamy to again depose before it as a witness to prove his claim of the Home Minister’s alleged complicity in the spectrum scam.
As the news reached Parliament, the opposition, which has threatened to boycott Mr Chidambaram, created a ruckus. But the government strongly backed Mr Chidambaram, who was finance minister when the spectrum saga began.
The Law Minister, Mr Salman Khurshid declared that there was no question of the Home Minister resigning and that no court had ruled against him. He called the court decision to let Mr Swamy a right to be heard a “procedural step”.
Mr Swamy had earlier deposed before the court as a witness in the second generation spectrum case.
The CBI special judge Mr O P Saini asked Mr Swamy to get himself examined and record his statement on December 17.
Mr Swamy has sought to make Mr Chidambaram a party in the spectrum case, saying the decision on spectrum pricing was taken in 2008 jointly by him and then communications minister Mr A Raja, who is lodged in Tihar Jail since February 2.
As part of his evidence, Mr Swamy has submitted a letter by Mr Raja who claims the “matter was discussed with the Prime Minister and finance minister”.
Meanwhile, the CBI clarified that the special CBI court at Patiala House here, hearing the spectrum case, had permitted Mr Swamy to record his statement and not necessarily to examine witnesses.
But Mr Swamy was euphoric.
“I am very pleased… I have already submitted documents specifying the role of then finance minister (in spectrum) allotment. I will tell the court about the key role of Chidambaram and his complicity in the case.”
The court clarified the case was at the initial stage.
Mr Swamy had also sought to examine CBI officials concerned “to establish the nexus of accused persons with others who have intentionally not been made accused by the prosecuting agency”.
The court had on December 3 reserved its order on Mr Swamy’s plea seeking permission to examine himself afresh, and senior CBI officials and others to prove that Mr Chidambaram had taken a joint decision with Mr Raja regarding fixing the price for 2G spectrum.
He had claimed that Mr Chidambaram, as finance minister, had permitted Swan Telecom and Unitech, who had secured the licences, to sell their shares to foreign companies.
On October 10, the Supreme Court reserved its order on the plea for a probe into Mr Chidambaram’s alleged role.
After nearly 10 days of logjam over issues such as price rise, illegal money and FDI in multi-brand retail, opposition parties in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha returned to their old demand for Mr Chidambaram’s resignation.
The Lok Sabha was first adjourned till noon and later till 2 p.m. as members from opposition parties created a ruckus. As soon as the House assembled in the morning a day after almost peaceful proceedings, members from opposition parties rose to demand the Home Minister’s ouster for his alleged involvement in the 2G scam during his tenure as finance minister.
“Chidambaram should go,” shouted the protesting MPs from the Bharatiya Janata Party creating a din the House. Ally Janata Dal-United members advanced to the Speaker’s podium to shout slogans.
The Speaker, Ms Meira Kumar suspended the crucial question hour and adjourned the House to meet at 12 p.m. The din continued when the House resumed, even as the Speaker allowed an adjournment motion on rising prices. She asked Communist Party of India leader Mr Gurudas Dasgupta to initiate the debate but the bedlam continued, forcing her to adjourn the house till 2 p.m.
The Rajya Sabha also witnessed repeated disruptions, with opposition MPs demanding Mr Chidambaram’s ouster. The upper House was also adjourned first till 12 p.m. and then till 2 p.m. on the issue.
Thursday was the 11th day of the 21-day long winter session. Parliament has already lost the first nine days of the session to opposition protests over various issues, including the government’s controversial decision of allowing foreign equity in Indian retail trade. The decision was suspended that paved the way for parliament to resume Wednesday.
The post-lunch session, however, witnessed a debate on price rise in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, apart from other regular business.