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No record of meet referred to by Behura in 2G court: Telecom minister

"It is surprising that the then telecom secretary (Mr Behura), who joined (Department of Telecom) on 1 January 2008, is referring to a meeting of 4 December 2007, when he had no personal knowledge of the meeting and has not produced any document to support veracity of his submission," telecom minister Kapil Sibal said

New Delhi: Telecom minister Kapil Sibal today contested the claims of former telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura over a December, 2007 meeting held regarding entry fees for second generation (2G) licences, in which he had said the then finance minister P Chidambaram and former finance secretary D Subbarao were present, reports PTI.

"We have looked into records. The records show that there was no such meeting. Neither Mr Chidambaram (now Union home minister) nor Mr Subbarao (now RBI governor) remember any such meeting," Mr Sibal told PTI.

He said, "It is surprising that the then telecom secretary (Mr Behura), who joined (Department of Telecom) on 1 January 2008, is referring to a meeting of 4 December 2007, when he had no personal knowledge of the meeting and has not produced any document to support veracity of his submission."

Opposing the framing of charges of corruption and other penal offences against him in the case, Mr Behura told special CBI judge OP Saini yesterday that Mr Subbarao had decided against revising the entry fee of Rs1,659 crore for 2G licences and if he is not an accused in this case, he (Mr Behura) too should not have been put on trial.

"Mr Subbarao finalised the decision taken in the meeting of 4 December 2007, that the policy stood approved and the entry fees (of Rs1,659 crore fixed in 2001 during the NDA regime) need not be revised," Mr Behura's counsel Aman Lekhi said in the court. Mr Behura has been behind bars for the past six months.

"Even the finance minister (then P Chidambaram) was also present in the meeting (held on 4 December 2007). If MR Subbarao, who was part of the finance ministry, did commit no wrong, how come I did," Mr Behura's counsel had said.

"This is the danger of taking arguments made on behalf of an accused and treating them as evidence and gospel truth," Mr Sibal said.

The opposition had earlier demanded prime minister Manmohan Singh and Mr Chidambaram's resignation after former telecom minister A Raja had dragged their name into the 2G scam, followed by Mr Behura yesterday, in the special court hearing the 2G scam.

"So taking the submissions of an accused in court is self evident, since he would like to protect himself by any means whatever, even on the basis of non-existent facts," Mr Sibal said.

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