2G: JPC to meet Thursday; trouble expected on report
New Delhi: The JPC meeting to be held Thursday to adopt the draft report on 2G scam is set to be a stormy affair with Opposition parties readying to corner the Committee's Chairman P C Chacko over clean chit to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram.
The non-Congress members in the 30-member JPC are expected to press for a vote on the controversial draft report, a demand which Chacko is ready to concede.
Sources said BJP member Yashwant Sinha is in touch with "like-minded" members of DMK, BJD and Left to make a common point and oppose the draft report.
Sinha was believed to be working to muster the numbers to reject the draft report through voting.
Sinha, who has been spearheading the attack on government over the issue, on Wednesday made clear that Thursday's meeting would be a stormy affair.
"... The JPC is facing the risk of a complete stalemate if not total destruction. We shall deal with issue in the meeting of the JPC on April 25," he said in a letter to the Prime Minister, ahead of Thursday's meeting, while demanding again that he should appear before the Committee.
Chacko said that he would suggest that any member wanting to give dissent note would be free to do so and it would be appended in the report when it is tabled in Parliament.
He said he will "try to make them (opposition members) understand that voting is not a precedent. It is not normally done."
However, at the same time, he said rules provide for voting and "if they insist, then we may have to go for vote".
The JPC is almost equally divided and the role of SP, BSP, AIADMK and Trinamool Congress, with a total of five MPs in the panel, would have to be watched.
In the JPC, Congress has 11 members, including its chief Chacko and its ally NCP has one. BJP has six members and NDA ally JD(U) two. DMK and BSP have two members each while SP, BJD, TMC, AIADMK, CPI and CPI-M have one member each.
The JPC, set up in March 2011, is expected to table its report on 2G scam in Parliament by May 10 when its term ends.
Sources said Sinha and T R Baalu of the estranged Congress ally DMK are in touch with parties like BJD and the Left to oppose the draft report.
The DMK is making common cause with the BJP and others in the context of the draft report pinning the blame on former telecom minister and its MP A Raja without giving him an opportunity of being heard.
On the eve of the meeting, Sinha cited the presentation sent by former Telecom Minister A Raja, the main accused in the scam, to the Committee to demand that the Prime Minister should appear before it.
Sinha wrote to the Prime Minister that his silence will "confirm" his involvement in the 2G scam in the wake of allegations by Raja that Singh was kept in the loop in every "major decision" related to allocation of spectrum in 2008.
"Is it not time Mr Prime Minister that you speak on these issues by appearing before the JPC," asked Sinha who has been demanding Singh's appearance earlier also.
Referring to the reply from the Prime Minister to his earlier letter, the BJP leader said, "You had said in your letter of April 2 that you had nothing to hide. (But) your deafening silence on the allegations made by your own colleague in the Cabinet completely disapproves the stand you had taken."
Sinha said the Prime Minister should appear before the JPC as the allegations levelled by Raja "constitute a set of serious allegations of your personal involvement in the 2G scam".