Govt unwilling to set up JPC on 2G spectrum scam

Last Updated: Friday, November 26, 2010 - 19:49

New Delhi: Finding itself in a bind,
Government on Friday said it would pursue efforts to end the
11-day-old stalemate in Parliament but made it clear that it
was in mood to accept the opposition demand for a JPC probe
into the 2G spectrum scam.

"We will certainly make an effort" was the refrain of
Paraliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal when asked
whether the Government was still hopeful of a resolution to
the issue.
The minister said another meeting between the
Government and Opposition could be possible early next week to
resolve the issue.

Bansal, at the same time, accused the oppostion of
waging a "political battle" on the issue of corruption.

"It is not their desire to unearth corruption. Their
only intention is to make a political battle and nothing
beyond. The issue of political battle needs to be fought
politically," he said.

Recalling the two formal meetings held with opposition
leaders to resolve the issue, he said their twin purpose was
to summon Prime Minister Manmohan Singh or the ministers
before the JPC and extend JPC`s role to examine the
controversial taped conversations involving the induction of
ministers.

Bansal said Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj and
CPI`s Gurudas Dasgupta had raised these issues in the second
all party meeting convened by Pranab Mukherjee.

"They want JPC to look into the formation of the
government, which no Parliamentary committee can do. No
committee is above Parliament. How a minister was inducted
cannot be looked into by a JPC," he said.
He also added that "expecting Prime Minister before a
committee is demeaning and insulting to his office. Prime
Minister does not belong to a party. He is the head of the
government. The very thought of calling Prime Minister before
the JPC is not acceptable"

The minister said the Prime Minister "has nothing to
hide" and he can answer to any questions of the opposition in
the House if the issue is debated.

Bansal also hinted that the government may consider
discussing the issue of corruption under a rule which entails
voting depending upon the wordings of the motion.

"The best course would be discuss the issue in the
House. Prime Minister will be available and he can intervene
and reply," he added.

To a question on what conditions, the government would
engage the opposition to resolve the issue, Bansal was not
forthcoming, saying "negotiations and talks can never be
stopped".

He said that the government is not "per se against
JPC" but quickly added it is not required in this case.

The JPC was set up when there were no Standing
Committees. It was continued even after setting up of Standing
Committees in 1992 and the successive governments at the
Centre have sometimes accepted the demands for JPC probe and
sometimes rejected it, he said.
Bansal also ruled out chances of adjourning the
Parliament session sine die before December 13, when it is
scheduled to end.

"As of now there is no decision on it. Cabinet
Committee on Parliamentary Affairs has not met to consider the
curtailment of the House," he said.

Government managers meanwhile said Parliament could
take serious note of the alleged taped converstations between
lobbyists and corporate houses and refer them to the
Privilleges Committee or Ethics Committee.

They said the committees can either suo motu take note
of it or some reference could be made to the Speaker for
taking up the issue.

PTI



First Published: Friday, November 26, 2010 - 19:49

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