Subramanian Swamy and controversy are seldom far apart. Neither is Mr Swamy rarely minus a worthy foil.
In the past this role has been played by Indira Gandhi, J Jayalalithaa, and Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Mr Swamy has also been an advocate of what at first sight appeared to be lost causes, but later became conventional wisdom – private enterprise in the 1960s and 1970s, making nuclear weapons in the 1960s, recognising Israel in the 1970s and so on.
His latest adversary seems to be P Chidambaram, the powerful Union Home Minister. In February, a Delhi court turned down a petition by Mr Swamy to have the Central Bureau of Investigation examine Mr Chidambaram’s role as Finance Minister during the telecom scam of 2008.
Mr Swamy had alleged that Mr Chidambaram had failed in his duty to prevent then Telecom Minister A Raja from cheating the country of thousands of crore rupees.
On Thursday, Mr Swamy charged that Mr Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram owns a large part of a company which benefited from the sale of the telecom company Aircel to the Malaysia based Maxis.
It may be noted that the Aircel-Maxis deal is already under scrutiny by the CBI which is focusing on the role of the then telecom minister, Dayanidhi Maran.
Mr Chidambaram has no obligation to respond to Mr Swamy’s charges. But as the Union Home Minister he cannot allow a climate of suspicion and innuendo to envelop him.
It is not sufficient to challenge Mr Swamy’s allegations in a court of law as his son intends to do. He needs to categorically clarify his position relating to the 2G scam, as well as the role his son played in the Aircel-Maxis issue.