New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday challenged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his cabinet colleagues to say the contents of the draft Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report were not based on facts and said the party will go to people on the issue.
BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, a member of the PAC, said members of the ruling coalition had made a mockery of Thursday`s committee meeting by rejecting the report after chairperson Murli Manohar Joshi adjourned the proceedings.
Sinha said some Congress members had described the report as baseless to cover up wrong doings.
"It is a coalition of the corrupt. They are saying the report is baseless. I challenge the Prime Minister, (Kapil) Sibal, (P) Chidambaram and the entire system who were guiding yesterday, let them say that the conclusions are not based on facts," Sinha told reporters at a BJP briefing here.
Answering queries on the further course on the draft report, Sinha said it was for the PAC chair and the Lok Sabha Speaker to take a decision.
Sinha said a scandal was coming out of the closet of the government everyday and alleged that the Prime Minister was presiding over "the biggest empire of corruption" in the country`s history since Independence.
Referring to reports that members from the UPA had "elected" Congress Rajya Sabha member Saifuddin Soz as "chairman" after Joshi adjourned the committee meeting and walked out, Sinha said the PAC was a Lok Sabha committee which was serviced by the Lok Sabha secretariat.
"They (UPA members) made a mockery… Rajya Sabha members associate with PAC. It is basically a committee of the Lok Sabha as it deals with financial matters," he said, adding that a member of the principal opposition from the lower house is made its chairman.
Sinha said he proposed at Thursday`s meeting of the PAC that if any conclusion of the draft report was not based on facts it could be rejected, but the UPA members were not ready to discuss the report.
"They wanted to reject it outright," he said.
He said UPA members gave a letter that the report should be rejected as it was "malafide and was the chairman`s report”.
"When the committee met in the post-lunch session on Friday, Congress and some other members had a piece of paper in their hands and demanded a vote on it."
He said parliamentary practice was that the draft report is prepared by the Lok Sabha secretariat, vetted by the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG), approved by the chairman and then circulated among members.
Sinha said Joshi took strong exception to the charge that the report had been "outsourced" as it reflected on the working of the secretariat. He said Joshi sought time to look into the allegation.
"The propaganda being done is that Joshi ran away from meeting," he said, adding that the party was hurt by the conduct of members.
He said the draft report has brought out "complete abdication of responsibility by this Prime Minister".
Charging Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and then finance minister P Chidambaram with "direct complicity" in not preventing former telecom minister A. Raja from taking controversial decisions in 2G spectrum allocation, Sinha said they had "not only not done their constitutional duty but willy nilly became part of the scam."
Sinha said he had demanded at the meeting that the leak of draft report should be probed.
Asked about the status of the draft report, he said it must get the importance it deserves as it had been produced "by the system”.
In an unseemly turn of events on Thursday, out of the 21-member PAC, 11 members from the Congress, DMK, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party rejected the interim report on the 2G scam and demanded Joshi`s resignation.