Chacko to talk to JPC members before decision on hearing Raja

Chacko to talk to JPC members before decision on hearing Raja New Delhi: JPC Chairman P C Chacko, who wants to table the report on 2G scam in Parliament by March end, will take a final decision on calling A Raja as a witness in a week's time after consulting other members of the committee.

The former Telecom Minister has expressed willingness to appear before the panel and DMK members in JPC T R Baalu and T Siva have been pressing Chacko to call Raja as a witness.

On Friday, Raja had written to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and Chacko making a strong pitch to appear before the JPC as a witness claiming that he has been "condemned unheard".

The DMK members also demanded calling Attorney General G E Vahanvati again before the panel after he told JPC earlier this month that the controversial press note regarding 2G licences was changed at the last minute by Raja in 2008 with a different pen.

Vahanvati was then the Solicitor General.

Raja has also been blamed for the 2G scam by other witnesses before the special CBI court.

Chacko is apparently against calling Raja as a witness. He has told members that as an accused Raja has legal protection and cannot make fresh revelations before any committee. Therefore, there was no point in calling Raja.

"If Raja is to be called, he will be the last witness. If DMK agrees on not calling him, then we have concluded calling witnesses before JPC and we would focus on writing the report," Chacko had recently said.

Raja's request has come when the three-month-long Budget session has just commenced.

Congress members in the JPC are against calling Raja as a witness as his deposition could be used by opposition members, including BJP and the Left, in cornering the government. Raja has maintained that he had kept the Prime Minister's Office and others informed about his decisions on 2G licencing issue.

JPC sources said members have so far not been sounded for a meeting and Chacko could meet members individually to seek their opinion on the issue.

In his letter, Raja claimed "the truth of the matter is being suppressed on the basis of preconceived notions, deliberate bias, faulty investigation and erroneous conclusions."

PTI