New Delhi : After ex-CAG Vinod Rai attacked Manmohan Singh on the 2G issue, Congress leader Kamal Nath today said the former Prime Minister may have made a “mistake” in not acting despite his letter to him expressing concern over the spectrum allocation process.
“He may have made a mistake. I would go along with you. I brought it to his notice. He did not understand the import” and he did not act, Nath said to a question whether the then Prime Minister had made a mistake.
“I was disappointed that the Prime Minister did not act…. In retrospect and hindsight, gravity and magnitude was not known. It was not known to me and the PM. It is very unfair to say that he knew everything,” the former Union Minister and Singh’s party colleague told a TV channel.
His remarks came even as several Congress leaders defended Singh on the 2G issue. The party too downplayed Nath’s remarks and rejected the contention that the same had vindicated Rai’s argument that Singh could not shirk responsibility for decisions to allocate 2G telecom spectrum and coal blocks. Asked if things would have been different had Manmohan Singh acted differently, Nath said “as recommended in my letter, if a group or a Cabinet Committee was set up, obviously the process would have changed. It required much more sharper and focussed attention”. “If it would not have been left to one minister alone, things would have been different,” he told Times Now.
Says Singh may have made a mistake in not acting despite his letter expressing concern over the spectrum allocation process
Nath said that the CAG came much later and he had written the letter earlier. “We must understand that the CAG report came much later. We did not know that.” Nath dismissed the BJP’s charge that 10 Janpath was involved and Sonia Gandhi told the Prime Minister against pursuing the matter. “BJP is talking absolutely rubbish. Sonia Gandhi, 10 Janpath did not know what was happening… Only the department knew what was happening not the entire government,” he said. Nath wondered that the CAG “never stumbled upon my letter, which was on record”.
Replying to a question, he said, “I do not believe that the Prime Minister knew all the facts. I do not think she knew large parts of the facts.”
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At the AICC briefing, party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi rejected the contention that Nath had vindicated Rai’s charge. “Nath has said nothing of the sort what Rai said. It’s a complete distortion to compare the two… Many people write letters, raise their concerns… Rai is speaking of complicity. Then he should have filed an FIR, become a witness…It is nothing but an exercise in self-advancement, self promotion,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Congress on Friday dismissed former Rai”s “recycled old allegations” against Dr Manmohan Singh that have been already rejected by courts. It said Rai was trying to gain cheap publicity for his upcoming book. It also asked him as to why he did not file an FIR if some pressure was brought upon him not to name then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the 2G and coal block allocation reports.
Rai”s allegation that former union minister Ashwani Kumar and two Congress MPs Sandeep Dikshit and Sanjay Nirupam tried to pressurize him to keep the Prime Minister’s name out of his report was stoutly denied by both Dikshit and Nirupam.
The Congress party’s main argument against Rai was that both the Supreme Court and the special CBI court had heard the arguments for making Manmohan Singh and his Finance Minister P Chidambaram accused in the 2G case and rejected the cases. Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said: “Every word of what Rai is saying now was said in the courts. The CAG is repeating the same argument. Is he claiming a superior wisdom than the courts?”
Dikshit and Nirupam took a tough line, saying they would send him a legal notice for apology. Dikshit said the CAG report on the 2G scam was made public in 2010 and he became a member of PAC after that. “So how can we influence the report I cannot understand. Either he thinks that Sanjay and I are such big fools that we will tell him to change that report which every child of India knows, or his memory is weak. If this is the case, he is confusing us with others then it is fine,” Dikshit argued.
Nirupam said if the book Rai was writing contained references to them, he would write to the publisher to remove them or face a criminal defamation suit.