AS was suspected the Congress misused the JPC also. Toeing the Congress line the UPA dominated Joint Parliament Committee (JPC) on infamous 2G scam, gave a clean chit to both Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram and pinned the entire scam over former Tele Communication Minister A Raja. The JPC entirely ignored the demand of the Opposition to call Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Finance Minister P Chidambaram and former Telecom Minister A Raja to depose before the Committee.
The Opposition BJP rejected the findings of the JPC. Party spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad said the party would voice and place its note of dissent when the next meeting of the JPC takes place. He said the draft report is more of a Congress report rather than a report of the JPC. The Left Front also said the findings of the draft JPC report are completely unacceptable. The row over the report could imperil the upcoming Budget Session of the Parliament starting on April 22. The JPC report is due to be tabled in the Parliament next week.
The draft report, which is expected to generate much heat in the next JPC meeting, said the Prime Minister was ‘misled’ by the then Telecom Minister A Raja whose assurances stood ‘belied’. The report also rubbishes the loss figure of Rs 1.76 lakh crore estimated by CAG, saying it was ‘ill-conceived’.
The report, which was circulated among members on April 18 before its adoption on April 25, also accuses Raja of forging the press note of January 7, 2008 after it was seen by the then Solicitor General GE Vahanvati. “The Committee wish to point out that the procedure” regarding the First-Come-First-Served (FCFS) criteria was a “misrepresentation of facts and in tactic deviation from the existing procedure,” it says.
The 30-member JPC, set-up in March 2011, noted that though there were a number of recommendations on spectrum pricing made by TRAI or committees set-up by the government as well as views expressed by the Finance Ministry and the PMO, “there was no policy decision taken by the government in favour of auctioning of 2G spectrum.”
Meanwhile, DMK spokesperson TKS Elangovan said: “If the JPC makes any charges against Raja without hearing him and calling him for deposition, then the report will be incomplete and biased. It will be a one-sided report.” Reacting to the draft report, CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta, who is also a member of the JPC, said the report was contradictory to facts. “The Prime Minister was in the know of things. This report is a Congress report,” he said.
Former Union Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha also hit out at JPC Chairman PC Chacko for ‘protecting PM’ and not calling Raja to depose. He had demanded that Raja be called to depose as he was equally culpable as the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister in the case. “Raja has written to the JPC to say that if he is guilty, so are the PM and the FM. Raja’s testimony will cause a lot of problems for both the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister, that is why he isn’t being called by the JPC, Shri Sinha said.
Earlier, Shri Sinha had written to the Prime Minister asking him to appear before the JPC. Citing Raja’s former communication to JPC, he had asked the PM to appear before the committee to ‘clear his name’ following allegations levelled against him. In his letter, he said any hesitation on his part to appear before JPC will prove that he has “something to hide”. He pointed out that when the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee was examining the CAG report on the 2G scam, the Prime Minister had publicly offered to appear before it to enable the committee reach the “right conclusions”.
“You have not made a similar offer to the JPC despite the fact that many members of the JPC have publicly demanded that you appear before the JPC,” Shri Sinha wrote. He claimed that in his communications to the JPC, Raja had levelled “serious allegations” against the Prime Minister and Finance Minister P Chidambaram. “I think it is in your own personal interest to appear before the JPC and clear your name. You may also suggest the Finance Minister to make a similar offer,” he said.
At present, the UPA (Congress-11 and NCP-1) has only 12 members including the Chairman. The allies in need, BSP and SP have two and one MP respectively in the 30-member JPC. If BSP and SP support, the UPA is expected to get 15 MPs, including the Chairman, who can only exercise his franchise in case of a tie. The BJP has six MPs and the Left parties and JD(U) have two MPs each. AIADMK, TMC and BJD have one MP each in JPC. If the DMK’s two MPs support the Opposition parties, they can reach the magic figure of 15, which will create trouble for the Government, as it will have a total strength of 15 MPs including Chairman Chacko.