2G: All out war between Congress, Opposition over PAC report

Last Updated: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 - 21:35

New Delhi: An all out political war broke
out on Wednesday with the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) coming down
heavily on the PMO, Cabinet Secretariat and faulting the Prime
Minister in the 2G scam while the Congress and DMK hit back
demanding Chairman Murli Manohar Joshi`s resignation.

Riled by critical comments against Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh, the ruling coalition accused Joshi, a veteran
BJP leader, of having "malafide intentions" to destabilise the
government after he circulated a draft report of the Committee
which criticised the PMO and Cabinet Secretariat for not
taking "corrective action".

The report will be discussed on Thursday at meeting of the
PAC which is likely to be stormy. With the strength of the two
sides delicately balanced in the 21-member committee, the role
of SP and BSP, which have a member each on the PAC, will be
important.

The PAC has seven representatives from the Congress, four
from BJP, two each from AIADMK and DMK, and one each from Shiv
Sena, BJD, JD(U), SP, BSP and CPI(M).

Joshi is keen on pushing the report before the term of
the current Committee ends on Saturday. But the ruling
coalition members are expected to stall the report by seeking
further discussion and calling more witnesses, including
former telecom minister A Raja in a bid to prolong the
process.

They may insist on a vote on the issue in tomorrow`s
meeting. An indication was available when Congress member KS
Rao said the ruling coalition has a majority in the PAC and
"you will see it tomorrow".

The report did not spare even Singh for "some unfortunate
omissions" that led to the 2G spectrum allocation scam being
dubbed by the Opposition as the biggest scandal in independent
India.

The report also attacked the then finance minister P
Chidambaram for recommending to the Prime Minister to "treat
the matter as closed" instead of taking action against those
responsible for loss to the exchequer.

The voluminous report had some unpleasant words for
Singh, who had kept his office at "arm`s length" in 2G
spectrum issue which helped Raja "to execute his unfair,
arbitrary and dubious designs".

The report says the Prime Minister on January 3, 2008
wanting to keep the PMO at "arm`s length" seemed to have given
an "indirect green signal" to Raja to go ahead and "execute
his unfair, arbitrary and dubious designs".

The controversial distribution of licences and spectrum
was taken by the DMK representative in the Cabinet on January
10, 2008, which the CAG had estimated a presumptive revenue
loss of over Rs 1.76 lakh crore.

The report said the PMO certainly either failed to
see the "forebodings or was rendered a mute spectator".

Giving an indication of things to come in tomorrow`s
meeting, six Congress and one DMK member addressed a joint
press conference accusing Joshi of doing a "hatchet job".

"It is a mean way, heinous way to destabilise the
government. He is defaming the government. This chairman has
done a hatchet job. He cannot bulldoze the report. It is
better that he resigns as PAC Chairman," Congress member KS
Rao said.

"This Chairman must go down in Parliamentary history as
one who denigrated PAC. He has caused lot of hurt to the
prestige of the Committee," Congress member Saifuddin Soz
said.

The Congress and DMK members said they totally reject any
attempt that the Chairman may make to ram down this report as
the recommendation and the conclusions of the Committee.

"The draft report is a politically motivated document
which seeks to malign and destabilise this government. It is a
dishonourable attempt," they said adding that it was a draft
report prepared by the Chairman in his individual capacity.

"Many of the statements herein are false, malicious and
perverse. The conclusions are biased and pre-determined. We
reject the recommendations in their entirety," they said.

Complaining that the 270-page report was received by them
only this morning, the members have decided to seek protection
from Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar on the issue.

"No reasonable person can expect us to read this draft
report, apply our minds to its contents and give our
considered opinion on the draft paragraphs as expected of us
by tomorrow," the Congress and DMK members said.

Besides Rao and Soz, those who addressed the press
conference were Aruna Kumar Vundavalli, Navin Jindal, Satpal
Maharaj, K Sudhakaran (all Cong) and Tiruchi Siva (DMK).

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 - 21:35

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