No basis for Manmohan Singh-Karunanidhi talks on Raja: Officials

By Arvind Padmanabhan, IANS
Thursday, November 11, 2010

SEOUL - Top Indian officials Thursday denied any basis for reports that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi from here on the 2G spectrum issue that rocked parliament for the second straight day.

The opposition Thursday mounted more pressure on the government to act against Communications Minister A. Raja, a member of Karunanidhi’s DMK, over his alleged role in the 2G spectrum scandal.

“No,” the prime minister’s media advisor, Harish Khare, told IANS here when asked if the Indian leader, here for the G20 Summit, had spoken with the DMK chief on what opposition claims is a Rs.1.76 trillion ($40 billion) scandal.

“The prime minister will say what he has to in parliament. He does not discuss such matters when away from the country,” said another senior official on condition of anonymity.

In New Delhi, parliament was adjourned again Thursday after opposition members continued to press for Raja”s ouster. These members disrupted business in the two houses for the second consecutive day.

The opposition toughened its position and sought Raja’s ouster after a report from the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), which is believed to have indicted Raja, was submitted to the government.

The 2G spectrum, or radio waves, was sold to private telecom service firms in 2008 and the opposition says the price which the exchequer got was a fraction of what the legitimate amount should have been on account of an alleged scam.

(Arvind Padmanabhan can be reached at [email protected])

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