BJP sticks to demand for JPC probe in 2G spectrum scam

Last Updated: Friday, February 4, 2011 - 19:26

Chennai: Not willing to budge, BJP on Friday
insisted on a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the 2G
spectrum allocation scam, saying larger governance issues
were involved and government never said why it was against it.

"Our demand for JPC probe is not just regarding Raja
(former Telecom Minister), but there are larger issues of
governance involved in this, such as role of corporates. So
our demand for a JPC stands," senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj
told reporters here.
Responding to Congress` offer that it was amenable to
a discussion in Parliament on JPC, Swaraj, who is Leader of
the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, said while the Opposition had
clearly stated why they were demanding JPC probe, the
government never said why it was against it.

She said this had been made clear in the all-party
meetings convened by Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee
and Speaker Meira Kumar (on different occasions).

"We will formulate our strategy in consultation with
our NDA partners on the eve of the budget session," she said
when asked if the Opposition would stall proceedings in
Parliament during the budget session on JPC issue,as they did
in the last session.

The NDA strategy would also factor in the February 8
all-party meeting convened by Mukherjee to find a way to end
the Parliament logjam on the demand for JPC.

On Union Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal`s remarks that
Raja had not deviated from NDA`s policies on spectrum
allocation and that the previous policies were wrong, Swaraj
said these were not true and BJP would reply in Parliament.

"Whatever action on Raja is being taken by CBI is on
the instructions of the Supreme Court," she said.
She declined to comment on the report of the Justice
Shivraj V Patil Committee which probed the procedural lapses
following the spectrum scam as she had not accessed it.
Swaraj earlier visited in Tamil Nadu`s Nagapattinam
district the family of Jayakumar, who was allegedly killed by
the Sri Lankan Navy last month. She handed over Rs two lakh as
relief to his wife.

Slamming the Centre for the continued attacks on Tamil
Nadu fishermen allegedly by Lankan Navy, Swaraj blamed its
"casual attitude" for it.

"Had they taken a sterner view earlier, (later
incidents) could have been avoided," she said.

She said she herself will take up the issue of attacks
on Indian fishermen in Parliament as her party had no MPs from
Tamil Nadu.

She said the Centre should have deputed its
representative to meet the families of the deceased fishermen.

Swaraj said she had been assigned to oversee the
affairs of the state units of BJP in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry
and Kerala which are going to polls (due in May) and said she
would decide the strategy after consultations with the core
group soon.

She said her party will make an impact in the
elections in Tamil Nadu. At present, BJP has no representation
in the state Assembly.
During her visit to Nagapattinam, Swaraj said BJP
would study in detail the issue of retrieving Katchatheevu,
ceded to Sri Lanka by India in 1974, and then raise it in

"I will study the issue in detail, discuss it with our
party leaders and then raise it in Parliament," she told a
gathering of fishermen at Pushpavanam fishing hamlet in the

‘Patil committee report an attempt to save Raja’

BJP today dubbed the claims of
the Shivraj Patil Committee on spectrum allotments since 2003
as an attempt to bail out former Telecom Minister A Raja and
insisted that only a JPC probe could bring out the truth.

"The BJP will comprehensively respond after going
through the contents of the report. However, this whole
attempt is also designed to bail out Mr Raja and the
illegalities committed by him," BJP Chief spokesperson Ravi
Shankar Prasad said.

Patil Committee`s report was unveiled by Telecom
Minister Kapil Sibal here today. It claims that all spectrum
allotments since 2003 by successive governments were
"procedurally wrong".

"The NDA has nothing to hide. We have ourselves said
that let JPC examine every allocation from 1998 itself,"
Prasad said.
BJP maintained that NDA was proud of its achievements in
"revolutionising" the telecom sector and mobile telephony.

"The entire queue (of telephone connection seekers) was
done away with. The incoming calls which used to be charged at
Rs 16 per minute became almost negligible. In the revenue
sharing system the number of players gave more money to the
government than licence fee because the entire area expanded
and mobile became affordable to the poor," Prasad said.

BJP further claimed that teledensity, which was 0.8 per
cent grew in a phenomenonal manner due to pro-consumer and
pro-people policies executed in a fair manner by the NDA


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First Published: Friday, February 4, 2011 - 19:26

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