New Delhi: The Congress on Wednesday condemned the remarks made by PAC chairman Dr Murli Manohar Joshi that government is trying to make the parliamentary panel a "puppet" in its hands and demanded an unconditional apology from him.
Addressing a press conference in the national capital, Congress national spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan said, “We strongly condemn the remarks made by Dr MM Joshi, who is the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee that probed the irregularities in the 2G spectrum scam.”
Natarajan, who is also the member of the PAC, said, “The Congress party is of view that the findings of the PAC are false and unfounded. We also condemn the fact that Dr Joshi talked about such things, which are completely out of purview of the PAC.”
Slamming the BJP leader, Natarajan said that by making public his remarks on such a sensitive issue and by holding a press conference yesterday he has rendered his position as the chairman of the PAC untenable.”
The Congress spokesperson also came down heavily over the BJP, which was involved in denigrating the parliamentary institutions.
“We always knew that BJP is a party, which resorts to denigrating vital institutions in India like the Parliament and the PAC formed to look into the alleged irregularities in the spectrum allocation.”
Aiming her gun over the BJP leader, Natarajan said, “Joshi has not acted as the chairman of the PAC but as a politician, who only served his party’ interest. So we demand that he apologizes to the Parliament to the Speaker, who appointed him the head of the panel for making false remarks against the Congress government at the centre.”
The counter-reaction from the Congress party came a day after Joshi blamed the government for misleading the nation over the 2G spectrum controversy.
"It is shocking that four ministers were sitting in the Parliament office of the Congress and sending chits and giving directions to their members in the PAC to do this or do that. In a way they are making PAC a captive committee," Joshi told reporters on Tuesday.
He maintained that the PAC is not supposed to work on party lines.
"They (Union ministers) want to make PAC a puppet. They want to run it on directions of the government and the party (Congress). A probe against corruption cannot be held with these big hurdles," Joshi said.
Union ministers Kapil Sibal, P Chidambaram, Pawan Kumar Bansal and N Narayansamy were present in Parliament on April 28 when the PAC meeting was on. Joshi has alleged that they were sending directions to Congress members while the proceedings were on.
"It is as if they (Congress members) are actors and these people (ministers) are producers. This is a serious insult to the Parliamentary process," he said.
The senior BJP leader said while Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had assured that immediate action should be taken against those indulging in corruption, his own ministerial colleagues were making all efforts to stop the probe against corruption.
"Is there no effect of his advice on his Council of Ministers? The Parliamentary Affairs minister told a PAC member from another party to be on his side. In PAC there are no parties. What is this or that side? PAC is above parties and is bipartisan," Joshi said.
Alleging that SP and BSP had changed sides on the 2G spectrum probe, he asked the two parties to clarify why they did so.
"I want to ask SP and BSP to clarify whether they want to stop the probe against corruption to what it to continue? In Uttar Pradesh, they fight against each other and at the Centre they are together. What is the mystery behind it. People want clear answers as to which party is with and which against corruption," Joshi said.
He wondered how SP and BSP had changed their stand on the 2G probe towards the end of the last PAC`s term when all along they had supported the probe.
Joshi also said the bank drafts for applying for the 2G license were made a day before the announcement and that too in Mumbai.
Joshi alleged that efforts were being made to get the PAC report rejected because names of the Prime Minister and ministers have been mentioned in it.
"An effort is being made to neutralise efforts to stop corruption," he said.
He said that much thought had been given while constituting PAC, now it was being said that its report would be thrown in the basket.
Joshi said that the PAC has recommended that CBI be freed from government control and a separate law be enacted for the agency.
The PAC chairman said that no ministry was ready to tell the quantum of loss in the 2G spectrum scam.