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Telecom deals as FM haunt him, Govt refutes allegations

New Delhi / Parliament was disrupted Tuesday as the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) protested over the alleged role of Home Minister P. Chidambaram in helping his son get financial benefits from a telecom deal when he was finance minister in 2006. The government termed the allegation baseless.Even as Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla made a statement to clarify the allegation, the opposition said it was not satisfied. The Lok Sabha saw noisy disruptions, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seeking a reply from the government on the issue, and was adjourned thrice.Some BJP MPs staged protests near Speaker Meira Kumar's podium and disrupted the crucial question hour. The speaker first tried to restore peace in the house, asking protesting MPs to go back to their seats but when they intensified their protest, she adjourned the house till noon.Pandemonium returned when the house resumed at noon. Amid noisy protests, the speaker allowed some business documents to be laid down in the house before adjourning the house till 1 p.m. When the house reconvened, it was adjourned till 2 p.m. as the BJP continued with their protest against Chidambaram and Congress MPs demanded action against the Madhya Pradesh government headed by Shivraj Singh Chouhan over alleged corruption.


Opposition MPs cited Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy's allegation that Chidambaram had delayed permission for the sale of Aircel to Malaysia-based Maxis in 2006 when he was finance minister so that his son, Karthi, was financially benefited. The upper house saw two adjournments, first for 10 minutes and then till 12 noon.

Reacting to a news report Tuesday which claimed that the April 28 statement was far from truth, the government said subsequently another application was received for downstream investment by M/s. Global Communications Services Holdings Ltd.

The government statement gave the relevant dates - Sep 1, 2006 as application for investment, Oct 3 for meeting of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) when it recommended the proposal, Oct 6 when the Minutes of FIPB were drawn up and moved by Deputy Secretary, Oct 12 when the finance minister approved the minutes and Oct 20 when the formal letter of approval was issued.

"It will be clear from the above that the proposal was processed in the normal course and approval was granted in the normal course without any delay," Shukla said reading the statement adding, "it is unfortunate that baseless allegations should continue to be made without verifying the facts." Opposition BJP however remained dissatisfied. "We want full clarification, point by point. What Shukla said clarified only one of the allegations," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said. "There is a conflict of interest. We wonder how CBI is doing the probe," he asked. Agency

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