Charges of criminality in the 2G spectrum case and the noise created by the then opposition led by the BJP over it overshadowed everything else, former finance minister P Chidambaram today said.
According to former union minister Salman Khurshid, there was no criminality in the 2G case as he called for an apology from some, an obvious reference to the BJP leaders and the then CAG Vinod Rai who came out with a report alleging a scam of Rs 1.76 lakh crore.
A special CBI court, however, has said that the prosecution has "miserably failed" to prove any charge against any of the accused.
Chidambaram admitted that the then UPA government did not find a strong coherent defence of the policy in the case and lost out to the opposition noise in creating a perception about the alleged 2G scam.
Speaking at a panel discussion after the launch of a book "Spectrum Politics: Unveiling the Defence" by Khurshid, the former finance minister said the bureaucracy was divided over formulation of the telecom policy on licences.
Chidambaram said, therefore at the bureaucratic level they were not able to put up a coherent strong defence and take it forward at the political level.
"We did put forward a defence on the policy and the charges of criminality overshadowed everything else. There was no debate on the policy. The debate and the noise was only about the alleged criminality," he said, adding how it was possible for individual ministers to defend.
Khurshid, who discusses the 2G case in detail in the book published by Rupa, said, "There was no criminality at all (in the 2G case) and some people need to apologise." He also said that a mistake cannot be taken as dishonesty. "All mistakes are not dishonesty," he said, as he charged those who made a big scam out of the 2G case have done a "dis-service to the nation".
"Frankly, we have not done enough to fight back. We need to fight back and we will fight back," he said, noting that it was important for somebody to put the record straight.
He also said that the legal material says that there was nothing wrong in the case and the government was restricted in many ways in its response which was to be made "collectively". No investigative agency has also found any "trail of money", he said.
Chidambaram said the then CAG Rai was "wrong" when he said that a scam of Rs 1.76 lakh has happened and termed it as "presumptive loss" as the facts speak for themselves.
JD-U leader Pavan Varma said the unveiling of the defence has "come too late" and the defence that the Congress party put up ahead of elections was "not enough".
"It was not emphatic and gave opposition the space in politics," he said.
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)