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Off the record
While members of the EGoM on 2G decided to remain tight-lipped on the matter until the Cabinet took a final call on its proposal for a one-time levy on telcos, law minister Salman Khurshid broke away from the pack and briefed journalists on the subject. The move not only irked his co-members who had maintained strict silence, but the minister was even caught on camera, asking journalists to shut down their equipment as he prepared to brief them "off" the record.
Heights of Aakash
On Monday, Gujarat CM Narendra Modi's remark about the Aakash tablet not having landed on Earth met a sharp retort from telecom and education minister Kapil Sibal who, at the Economic Editors' Conference, rebutted: "I have given the Aakash to all my Cabinet colleagues."
Breadth of free speech
Sibal also went on to justify his statement on making voice calls free by saying that two-people communication is a fundamental right and, hence, there should be no charge on it.
Across the gallery
At the same event, finance minister P Chidambaram showed off his significant skills in moderating a conference. When Principal DG PIB Neelam Kapur allowed too many questions from one side of the gallery, Chidambaram came to the rescue of journalists sitting in other parts of the gallery, making sure they got a fair share of questions.
Through the television
Confronted with a question about why central ministers didn't visit states more frequently to take the reform message across more effectively and quickly, Chidambaram said that in the era of 24-hour news channels, all activities of government are closely tracked, and its message disseminated loud and clear within minutes. When the questioning reporter pointed out that this information flow was not very dependable, Chidambaram quipped: "I am saying this on record—I did not say this!"
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