2G fire now singes Congress netas

The DMK had suffered setback after setback after the 2G scandal broke a year ago, and the Congress had remained relatively untouched by the investigations.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his party colleagues had, all along, blamed 'coalition politics' for the scandal. It won't be so easy now for his party to shrug off responsibility for what some describe as the world's biggest scandal.

Pranab Mukherjee is coming back from New York today, and will meet Sonia Gandhi immediately to discuss the fallout of the unearthing of a note that suggests senior leaders in the Congress knew all about the 2G spectrum sale that landed former telecom minister A Raja in jail.

In fact, Raja argued his own case in court today, and said the prosecution was harassing him and keeping him jailed when it had no scrap of evidence to show he caused a loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the nation.

The CBI sought the court's permission to file fresh charges against Raja, and urged a life term for him, and others involved in the scandal. Raja's lawyer, and Raja himself, were upbeat today, accusing Chidambaram of complicity, if indeed selling spectrum cheap were a crime, and even telling the court it should consider summoning Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to testify in the case.

With Raja dragging in the names of Chidambaram and Manmohan Singh, the 2G scandal has finally landed at the door of the Congress.

Pranab Mukherjee and Chidambaram are two of the Congress's seniormost leaders, and the release of a note that suggests Chidambaram's complicity, observers say, could indicate an intra-party battle between two prime ministerial contenders.

But for the moment, the Congress is doing all it can to play down the significance of the letter. Law Minister Salman Khurshid told reporters the note was of little significance. The Congress will also say the official who wrote the note had no authority to do so. While all this may delay and confuse the investigation, questions will continue to be asked of the Congress about how it remained quiet when the biggest scandal ever was being pulled off.
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