Congress, BJP in war of words over JPC report on 2G scam

A war of words broke out between BJP and Congress over the JPC report on 2G spectrum scam with the opposition terming the document as a "bundle of contradictions".

New Delhi: A war of words broke out today between BJP and Congress over the JPC report on 2G spectrum scam with the opposition terming the document as a "bundle of contradictions" and the ruling party hitting back alleging BJP`s campaign may be due to "skeletons in the cupboard".

Submitting a dissent note against the JPC report on 2G spectrum, BJP said it was "flawed and a bundle of contradictions drafted by people in the government on the directions of the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister as a "cover up" exercise.

BJP MPs Yashwant Sinha, Jaswant Singh, Gopinath Munde, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Harin Pathak and Dharmendra Pradhan filed the dissent note to the JPC secretariat today.

"The Prime Minister, the Prime Minister`s Office, the Finance Ministry and DoT and its officials- all of them had a hand in preparing the report and in covering up the whole thing," Sinha told reporters.

The BJP members alleged the government "completely controlled" JPC Chairperson P C Chacko and he worked according to their directions.

"This entire game has been played by the Government of India. This has been done by the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister and the DoT (Telecom) Minister who still holds the portfolio," Sinha alleged.

Reacting sharply to BJP`s charge, Chacko dismissed the charge and said it showed BJP`s desperation. "The JPC report was drafted by my secretariat and under my directions. The charge of Yashwant Sinha and company shows their desperation. It is completely political," he said.

"It is out of desperation. Why Yashwant Sinha is too much worried about the report? There may be skeletons in the cupboard", Chacko told reporters at the AICC headquarters.

"You will know very soon why Sinha and company is worried," Chacko said in reply to a volley of questions but did not elaborate.

Noting that he has received six dissent notes by the deadline this evening, the JPC Chairperson said he would present the report to the Lok Sabha Speaker by the end of this month.

Besides BJP, those who have given dissent notes include CPI, CPI-M, DMK, AIADMK and BJD. All those parties which opposed the draft report during its adoption on September 27 have submitted their dissent.

Chacko insisted the conduct of the meeting of JPC was held in the "most democratic manner" and with the consent of everyone.

Declining to reveal the contents of the report, he suggested the document could show whether CAG, which had put the presumptive loss at Rs 1.76 lakh crore, was right or not and whether the loss to the exchequer was a fact or fiction.

Asserting that making public the content of the report before it is submitted to the Speaker was a clear violation of norms, he said it was unfortunate that the BJP leaders have takled about it in a press conference.

The BJP leaders said they were going against convention and discussing the report with the media even before it has been made public as "Chacko himself has violated all rules".

The six MPs also wrote a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, alleging Chacko had acted in an "arbitrary and authoritarian manner" during JPC meetings.

"We apprehend that the Chairman may edit and mutilate our Note of Dissent. We are therefore constrained to send a copy of our dissent," they said in their letter.

Asked whether he would move the Privileges Committee against the BJP members alleging breach of privilege, Chacko said he was himself the Chairman of the Privileges Committee.
"In a fit of anger, they (the BJP members) should not forget the rules", he said lamenting that no one was ready to observe rules in spite of the fact that he had given time to all members to have their say.
Besides, he wondered that if the entire report from page one to last page was a coverup, "why did they attended the meetings of the Committee". He alleged the BJP members were playing a "self-defeating game". "There has been no deliberate delay. Even Sinha cannot allege that. He used to be the first person to be consulted", he said.

The JPC, he said, had covered both NDA as also UPA periods from 1998 to 2009.

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