2G: Oppn calls Sibal`s zero loss stand bizarre

Opposition parties on Saturday slammed as bizarre, flawed and a cover-up exercise Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal`s stand that there was no loss at all on account of the controversial 2G spectrum allocation debunking CAG estimates.

Last Updated: Jan 08, 2011, 19:10 PM IST

Guwahati/New Delhi: Opposition parties on Saturday
slammed as bizarre, flawed and a cover-up exercise Telecom
Minister Kapil Sibal`s stand that there was no loss at all on
account of the controversial 2G spectrum allocation after
debunking CAG estimates of a Rs 1.76 lakh crore loss.

The Opposition leaders including PAC Chairman Murli
Manohar Joshi also hit out at Sibal for his strident criticism
of the CAG saying it was highly objectionable and alleged his
stand was an attemmpt designed to save the former Telecom
minister A Raja, who had to resign in the wake of the 2G scam,
and other beneficiaries.
Congress on its part defended Sibal from the opposition
attack saying it found nothing wrong in his criticism of the
government auditor and that any MP or minister can raise a
question mark on a CAG report based on the findings.

Joshi, a senior BJP leader, said Sibal`s stand was
"improper" and demonstrated his "very casual" approach.

"In my opinion, it is highly improper. The CAG has never
said that it is the exact amount. Mr Sibal should have read
the report carefully," Joshi said here while reacting to the
Telecom Minister`s contention that the presumptive losses
projected by the CAG was "erroneous".

Sibal`s attack on CAG showed that "he has been very
casual and ill beholds of the Minister to talk ill of the CAG,

Terming as `bizzare` Sibal`s stand, CPI-M said it
appeared to be "a cover up exercise" to shield the
beneficiaries of the scam.

CPI-M Politburo member Sitaram Yechury described as
"flawed" Sibal`s argument that the CAG methodology on
presumptive loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore was erroneous.

"It appeared to be a cover up exercise to shield those
who had benefitted," Yechury said in Bangalore.

Congress spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed told PTI, "CAG
report is for scrutiny. Any MP or minister can raise question
mark on CAG report based on the latter`s findings. If Sibal
has said something based on documents, we do not think it is
wrong on his part."

BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad reacted sharply to
the Telecom Minister`s statements, saying, "Sibal`s
unwarranted comments have sought to over-reach parliamentary
process when the PAC is looking into it."

"It is a frontal attack on CAG, designed to save (former
Telecom Minister) A Raja," he told reporters in Guwahati.

In a statement, CPI(M) said Sibal`s statement on the
issue was "clearly meant to protect the ill-gotten gains" made
by corporates who got the licenses at throwaway prices.

"It is clear from Sibal`s defence that the UPA
Government is far more deeply involved than just the lone acts
of A Raja", the CPI(M) Politburo said, adding that his
"bizarre defence" of the 2G spectrum allocation once again
underlined the need for a Joint Parliamentary Committee(JPC)
to investigate the issue.
The Minister`s statement was "clearly meant to protect
the ill-gotten gains that the corporate houses have made by
securing 2G license and spectrum at throw-away prices. This is
the reason why Sibal is attacking the CAG report".

The CPI-M said that with Sibal`s statement,the UPA
government has "lost all credibility that it can carry out any
impartial probe on this issue" and, therefore, a JPC was
required.

Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy alleged that
Sibal`s stand was an attempt to influence investigations into
the scam.

Swamy said the court should take suo motu notice of the
contempt of court committed by the Minister, who made
statements about the case when the Supreme Court had passed an
order directing the CBI to report to it.

The statement made by Sibal seeking to rubbish the CAG
report on 2G scam was not only "highly objectionable" but also
is contempt of the Supreme Court, he said.

He said he was moving an "interlocutory-application" in
the Supreme Court seeking to restrain Sibal from any further
dealing with the files connected with 2G and as also for suo
motu notice to be taken of Sibal`s contempt of court.

PTI