All out war in PAC over 2G issue
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Last Updated: Friday, April 15, 2011, 19:57
New Delhi: It was an all-out war between the ruling coalition and the opposition in the Public Accounts Committee meeting on Friday over the probe into the 2G spectrum scam forcing cancellation of questioning of top officials, including Cabinet Secretary and Prime Minister's Principal Secretary.

As a result the scheduled questioning of CBI Director AP Singh and Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati on Friday was postponed as was the hearing of Cabinet Secretary KM Chandrashekar and Principal Secretary to Prime Minister TKA Nair scheduled for Saturday.

Following the fracas, Joshi did not address a press conference which he does usually after every sitting. "The Committee has decided not to have a press conference," he told reporters.

The Committee will now meet April 21 to decide whether further witnesses should be called.

What was simmering for long spilled over into an open war today with Congress and DMK members questioning PAC Chairman Murli Manohar Joshi of BJP as to why the inquiry into the spectrum scam be continued because the matter was sub-judice.

The debate, sometimes heated, went on for over three hours in all. In an unusual occurrence for a Parliamentary Committee proceeding, even a division was taken on whether witnesses should be called.

In the vote seven members belonging to the Opposition favoured calling witnesses while five of the ruling coalition voted against and Law Secretary DR Meena, already summoned, was called in to depose.

Congress members KS Rao, Navin Jindal, Arun Kumar Vundavalli and Saifuddin Soz and DMK's Tiruchi Siva were among those present from the ruling side.

The 22-member Committee 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). One seat is vacant.

At the outset, senior Congress member KS Rao said since the 2G spectrum issue was sub-judice, the PAC should not call witnesses to depose before it.

He pointed out that even Reliance ADAG Chairman Anil Ambani, who appeared before the Committee recently, had told the PAC he would not be able to answer all the questions as the matter was sub-judice.

Joshi said that the witnesses were not forced to depose and their evidence was not part of the report. "It is just archival material which is not made public," he told the PAC.

Moreover, Joshi said the Committee had not asked any of the accused to appear before it.


First Published: Friday, April 15, 2011, 19:57

Tag: WarPAC2G Issue
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