Swamy to depose against Chidambaram

New Delhi : In a move that could cause more trouble for P. Chidambaram, a special CBI court Thursday allowed Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy to again depose before it as a witness to prove his claim of the home minister’s alleged complicity in the spectrum scam.

As the news reached parliament, the opposition, which has threatened to boycott Chidambaram, created a ruckus. But the government strongly backed Chidambaram, who was finance minister when the spectrum saga began.

Law Minister Salman Khurshid declared that there was no question of the home minister resigning and that no court had ruled against him. He called the court decision to let Swamy a right to be heard a “procedural step”.

Swamy had earlier deposed before the court as a witness in the second generation spectrum case.

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special Judge O.P. Saini asked Swamy to get himself examined and record his statement Dec 17.

Swamy has sought to make Chidambaram a party in the spectrum case, saying the decision on spectrum pricing was taken in 2008 jointly by him and then communications minister A. Raja, who is lodged in Tihar Jail since Feb 2.

As part of his evidence, Swamy has submitted a letter by Raja who claims the “matter was discussed with the prime minister and finance minister”.

Meanwhile, the CBI clarified that the special CBI court at Patiala House here, hearing the spectrum case, had permitted Swamy to record his statement and not necessarily to examine witnesses.

But Swamy was euphoric.

“I am very pleased… I have already submitted documents specifying the role of then finance minister (in spectrum) allotment. I will tell the court about the key role of Chidambaram and his complicity in the case.”

The court clarified the case was at the initial stage.

Swamy had also sought to examine CBI officials concerned “to establish the nexus of accused persons with others who have intentionally not been made accused by the prosecuting agency”.

The court had Dec 3 reserved its order on Swamy’s plea seeking permission to examine himself afresh, and senior CBI officials and others to prove that Chidambaram had taken a joint decision with Raja regarding fixing the price for 2G spectrum.

He had claimed that Chidambaram, as finance minister, had permitted Swan Telecom and Unitech, who had secured the licences, to sell their shares to foreign companies.

On Oct 10, the Supreme Court reserved its order on the plea for a probe into Chidambaram’s alleged role.

But Swamy’s “victory” in the court came on a day when Harvard University axed his summer course over a controversial article in a Mumbai newspaper, prompting him to retort that the move “stifles personal opinion”.

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