Vajpayee, PC in witnesses list before JPC probing 2G scam
New Delhi: An "exhaustive" list of witnesses, which includes former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, was on Tuesday placed before the JPC probing the 2G spectrum allocation scam, but a decision whether to call them was deferred.
The list is likely to be finalised on July 10 with JPC members agreeing in principle that some politicians and corporate honchos who are part of the telecom sector will be summoned.
As soon as the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) met this morning, chairman P C Chacko placed before the members an exhaustive compilation of witnesses suggested by members over the last one year.
He said since he has not applied his mind on the witnesses who actually need to be called, he would like the issue to be deferred so that he can consult individual members and prune the list of witnesses.
He then "withdrew" the list.
Yashwant Sinha (BJP) objected to the name of Vajpayee saying if he is being summoned as a witness, then his demand to call Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should also be accepted, sources said.
Chacko said he has himself lamented that the name was Vajpayee was suggested as a witness but clarified that he was included in the list by the JPC secretariat as he had held the Telecom portfolio during NDA rule after the resignation of Jagmohan as Telecom Minister.
Some Congress members opined the panel has examined sufficient number of witnesses and was in possession of enough documents to write a draft report.
It is learnt that former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura, an accused in 2G scam case now out on a bail, could be summoned later this month.
The list also reportedly includes the name of P Chidambaram who was the Finance Minister when 2G spectrum was allocated.
Among the politicians, the list also includes the name of former Telecom Ministers A Raja, Jagmohan, Arun Shourie and Sushma Swaraj, now Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha.
During the meeting, Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) demanded the list should not be finalised on the basis of a "compromise" reached between Congress and BJP but should be based on "proprietary".
The issue of who all should be called as witnesses had rocked the JPC meeting on June 19 with NDA members demanding that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and PMO officials be called. They also wanted former Telecom Minister and 2G scam prime accused A Raja be asked to depose before JPC.
Countering this, Congress members had demanded that Vajpayee be asked to present his views before JPC.
BJP members Yashwant Sinha and Jaswant Singh, who are part of JPC, said they were ready to step down from the probe panel and depose before it as they were ministers in NDA government.
JPC had then decided to draw up a list of the witnesses who could be called. The list has to be endorsed by the members before anyone could be summoned.
The June 26 meeting of JPC was postponed as the differences among the members persisted.
Officials from ED deposed before the committee today to explain the progress made by them in the 2G spectrum scam probe.