Documentary evidence

The office memorandum or OM as it is known in bureaucratic parlance is a document which a department/ministry sends to another. “An OM is the view of the department on an issue being sent to the other department/ministry. It is sent by a middle-level official, but after getting sanction to do so by a higher level official, not less than the rank of a joint secretary,” said a top bureaucrat.

The reason for the row involving Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Home Minister P Chidambaram – who are known to have had differences for some time now, is the disclosure of the OM dated March 25, 2011. The explosive document came out in the form of reply to a
Right to Information query. The documents virtually blames Chidambaram for the scam as it says he could have sought auction of spectrum allocation.

Ever since the controversy broke out, the Congress has tried to dismiss the importance of the OM, saying that it was written by a junior official, and that it was in response to a RTI query. Senior government officials, speaking to Deccan Herald, assert that the OMs – they should not be called be notes as being described by the media – are always written by the junior level officers.

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