New Delhi: A trial court in Delhi has deferred its decision till November 8 on the petition filed by Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy seeking a probe into Home Minister P Chidambaram's role in the 2G case. Mr Chidambaram was the Finance Minister when the telecom scam unfolded in 2008.
The trial court said it wants to wait for the Supreme Court's verdict on Mr Swamy's other plea seeking a CBI enquiry against Mr Chidambaram for failing to reign in Mr Raja. The CBI has, in the past, objected to this, stating that there is nothing to suggest that Mr Chidambaram could have acted differently, and that it is incorrect to single out a minister as culpable for Mr Raja's actions. Mr Chidambaram's party, the Congress, has also defended him staunchly.
In his petition before the trail court, Mr Swamy has said that Mr Chidambaram should be made a co-accused in the case.
Mr Swamy's petition says Mr Chidambaram deserves to be questioned on the basis of a note from the Finance Ministry that finds Mr Chidambaram did not act rigorously enough as Finance Minister in 2008 to ensure that valuable spectrum was sold at fair prices to companies.
The note - sent in March to the Prime Minister's Office - had turned into a searing controversy, mainly because notings establish it was "seen by" Pranab Mukherjee - suggesting that he endorsed its content. The Opposition had asked for Mr Chidambaram's resignation on the basis of this document.
The government has so far backed Mr Chidambaram vociferously, with the Prime Minister stating that the Home Minister enjoys his "complete confidence." Mr Mukherjee has described Mr Chidambaram as "a pillar of strength" to the government in what's being seen as an attempt to assuage his upset colleague. Mr Chidambaram reportedly had told the PM that the note against him is the result of an orchestrated campaign within the government against him.
Mr Swamy had urged the Supreme Court to monitor the investigation into the 2G scam, which is being conducted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Since November, the inquiry has cost a couple of Union ministers their jobs, and lodged several executives at some of India's biggest telecom companies in prison.
While the Supreme Court is monitoring the CBI's investigation into the telecom scam, the case is actually being tried by a lower court. The CBI and the Centre have defended Mr Chidambaram and have argued that it should be left to the trial court. The Centre had also said that the Supreme Court need not monitor the 2G case anymore.