All out war in PAC over 2G issue

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.

PTI



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

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