2G note: Pranab-Chidambaram joint statement fails to clear air

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and home minister P ChidambaramFinance minister Pranab Mukherjee and home minister P Chidambaram issued a joint statement this evening over the latest twist to the '2G scam' saga, which underlined that the Congress Party has decided to put up a united front to face the fallout of a note from the finance ministry suggesting inaction by Chidambaram to prevent the cheap sale of spectrum.

Mukherjee, flanked by Chidambaram, telecom minister Kapil Sibal and law minister Salman Khurshid, briefly addressed the media outside North Block in New Delhi, which houses the offices of union ministers dealing with domestic matters.

The prepared statement merely repeated the party's earlier contention that the note was a "background paper" on the 2G spectrum issue and not an indication of differences within the government.

"A number of stories on 2G have appeared in 2011. A view was taken (by the government) that a harmonised note based on facts be produced by various representatives of the government. A background paper was prepared and sent to the PMO. The papers contain certain interpretations," Mukherjee read from a written statement.

"Apart from factual background, the paper contains certain inferences and interpretations which do not reflect my views. The policy of the government in 2007-2008 was continuation of the policy adopted in October 2003 and as reiterated by TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India)," he added.

"I am happy with the statement made by my senior and distinguished colleague," Chidambaram then said.