Chacko wants JPC meet before May 10, may seek term extension

Chacko wants JPC meet before May 10, may seek term extension New Delhi: Against the backdrop of Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar's inability to remove him, JPC chairman P C Chacko Thursday contacted the committee members to hold a meeting before May 10 when its term ends and is learnt to be ready to extend the tenure of the panel to adopt the controversial draft report on 2G spectrum scam.

Chacko has received a go-ahead from the Congress high command to convene a meeting of the committee to adopt the draft report.

Besides 15 members from BJP, JD (U), Left parties, Trinamool Congress, AIADMK, DMK and BJD, UPA outside supporter Samajwadi Party is also opposed to the draft which has given a clean chit to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram in 2G spectrum allocation.

The report has indicted former Telecom Minister A Raja for taking decisions on allocating 2G spectrum and "misleading" the Prime Minister.

With the number clearly not on his side in the 30-member committee, Chacko wants the members opposed to the draft to give dissent notes. He is not willing to alter the text of the draft.

Sources said if he fails to convene a meeting before Parliament adjourns sine die, he would move the Speaker seeking an extension. Since he needs the backing of the committee to go for an extension, it is necessary that he convenes a meeting to approve the resolution for extension.

If he fails, he could contact the members for their support and seek a fresh extension from the Speaker till the beginning of the monsoon session of Parliament which is likely to begin around July 23.
Sources said while one view is that the JPC cannot end with the expiry of its term till it produces a report, the other view is that the term will automatically end on May 10.

The term of the JPC is co-terminus with the sine die adjournment of Parliament at the end of the Budget Session.

Speaker Meira Kumar today rejected the Opposition demand for removal of Chacko as Chairman of the JPC, citing "absence of express provisions in rules".

In a letter to JPC members, Kumar said rules and directions are "silent" on the removal of the chairman of a parliamentary committee.

She also urged the Chairman and the members of the JPC to work out an agreeable solution to end the current "impasse" and produce, adopt and place a report before Parliament according to the rules.

PTI