New Delhi: JPC chairman PC Chacko Tuesday hit out at BJP leader Yashwant Sinha for writing to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking him to appear before the panel examining the 2G spectrum scam, dubbing it as a "political stunt" and against established "norms".
"How can a member of the JPC write a letter to the Prime Minister? It is for the committee to take a decision. It is only a political stunt and against norms of Parliamentary procedure," Chacko told reporters responding to Sinha`s letter to Singh asking him to appear before the panel to clear his name.
He said Sinha`s letter has "no relevance" as decisions including calling a minister have to be taken by the committee and "not individuals."
When pointed that Sinha has asked the Prime Minister to volunteer himself as a witness before JPC, Chacko said, "even if the Prime Minister wants he cannot appear before the JPC. That`s the norm which applies to all of us."
The JPC chief said Sinha cannot cite the example of the Prime Minister`s willingness to appear before Public Accounts Committee when it was examining the CAG report on 2G scam.
"Despite the Prime Minister`s willingness to appear before PAC, why was he not called? Sinha ji should ask this question to the PAC Chairman (Murli Manohar Joshi)," he said.
Chacko contended that even if the JPC wants, it cannot call a minister as a witness till a unanimous resolution was passed. "The resolution will then have to be sent to the (Lok Sabha) Speaker who will take a decision."
He said after completing deposition by witnesses, the committee members had authorised him to write the draft report. "Once the report is ready, we will meet to discuss it," he said.
The reaction from Chacko came in response to allegations made by the BJP leader that he was protecting the Prime Minister and Finance Minister P Chidambaram in the 2G spectrum case.
In his letter, Sinha had alleged that A Raja is equally culpable as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram in the 2G case.
"Raja has written to the JPC to say that if he is guilty, so are the PM and the FM. Raja`s testimony will cause a lot of problems for both the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister, that is why he isn`t being called by the JPC," Yashwant Sinha said.
In his letter, Sinha said any hesitation on his part to appear before JPC will prove that he has "something to hide". Sinha pointed out that when Parliament`s Public Accounts Committee was examining the CAG report on the 2G scam, the Prime Minister had publicly offered to appear before it to enable the committee reach the "right conclusions".
However, the Congress hit back saying that the JPC can take its own call. "I haven`t read Yashwant Sinha`s letter. There are BJP members in the JPC, they can put their views before the JPC themselves. The PM has nothing to do with the JPC. The JPC can take its own decisions," Congress leader Rashid Alvi said.