Economic Affairs Secretary R Gopalan Thursday maintained that Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee was aware of the contents of the March 25 note on the allocation of 2G Spectrum.
Gopalan, deposing before the Joint Parliamentary Committee probing the 2G scam for the second straight day on Thursday, said the note, sent as an office memorandum, was prepared at the instance of the Prime Minister’s Office. Mukherjee saw it, he added, but that did not imply he approved it. The note said that then finance minister P Chidambaram could have prevented the scam had he insisted on the 2G Spectrum auction.
JPC chief P C Chacko told reporters after the meeting that Gopalan took the position that an approval is sought for a proposal or a policy decision. However, if the cases do not need approval, files are often referred to ministers and senior officials to see before they are sent forward. Gopalan, Chacko said, added: “the Finance Minister is aware of the contents of the note. That is the meaning of seen.”
Chacko said that after the controversy over the note, Mukherjee wrote to the PM on September 26, 2011 to explain that his ministry was initially not keen to send the note as an office memorandum, but did so at the instance of a joint secretary in PMO. “This was in that letter that was explained (by Gopalan) today,” Chacko added.