New Delhi: Left parties on Tuesday attacked Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh for "virtually justifying" that a JPC
inquiry into the 2G spectrum scam was not required but was
accepted by the government only to pacify the opposition.
Welcoming the government`s decision to form the Joint
Parliamentary Committee on the issue, CPI(M) leader Sitaram
Yechury said the prime minister "virtually justified that JPC
is not required and the Opposition demand was accepted to
allow Parliament to function".
"If this wisdom had been displayed earlier, we would have
saved the Winter Session (that was washed out due to protests
over demand for a JPC probe)," he said.
CPI National Secretary D Raja said instead of blaming the
Opposition, the prime minister should adopt a self-critical
position. "The same good sense should had prevailed during the
Winter Session," he said.
Yechury said the Left parties were demanding JPC to probe
as to how the entire system was "grossly manipulated to allow
such a big scam to happen".
While Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal said there was "zero
loss" to the public exchequer, the prime minister had compared
it with the subsidies being granted to the poor on food
grains, the CPI(M) leader said.
"Singh virtually said the manner in which the spectrum
was allocated was actually a subsidy to corporates," he said.
"The prime minister is making a virtue out of the
government`s inaction of the past three months and looking to
be benevolent in granting a JPC," Yechury said, adding that
this approach "actually reflected the state of the government
which was in the grip of a directionless drift".
Maintaining that the loss should not be calculated on the
basis of the 3G spectrum allocation rates, Yechury said it
should be done on the basis of the price telecom firms Swan
and Unitech received soon after they got 2G licenses.
"Stakes in these two companies were sold at six times
more price than they bought spectrum from the government. This
is scandalous," he said.
Yechury said new guidelines and regulations should be
recommended by the JPC so that the system cannot be
manipulated so grossly, as was done by the JPC set up in the
wake of the Harshad Mehta stock market scam following which
the Securities Exchange Board of India was set up.
On the composition of JPC, Yechury said it should be a
30-member committee with one Chairman as has been the norm for
all the parliamentary standing committees where 20 MPs
represent Lok Sabha and 10 the Rajya Sabha.
He also warned the government "not to manipulate (the
JPC formation) in a manner to keep certain parties out or
certain parties in." "We want fair representation," he said.
On whether the Left would want the scams relating to CWG
be brought into the JPC ambit, Yechury said, "We don`t have
any problems in that. But that should not stop the JPC from
launching its activities and begin probing the spectrum scam."