Logjam in JPC over calling PM, PC as witnesses

The JPC meetings on 2G has been jeopardised due to a logjam over calling as witnesses politicians like PM and Finance Minister P Chidambaram.

New Delhi: The schedule of JPC meetings on 2G spectrum scam has been jeopardised due to a logjam over calling as witnesses politicians like Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram as also Ministers during the previous NDA rule.

While BJP members have been pushing for calling Singh and Chidambaram, Congress is countering the move by suggesting that BJP`s Yashwant Sinha and Jaswant Singh should be called first, citing the chronological order of the governments.

Sources said Congress is against calling politicians to avoid delay in preparation of the report.

However, they insist that if and when Sinha and Jaswant Singh appear as witnesses, they cannot participate in JPC`s deliberations as members and "cannot sit on judgement" when the report is finalised.

Both Sinha and Singh were Finance Ministers in NDA regime. While Jaswant Singh had headed the GoM on telecom policies in 2003, Sinha was also a member of this GoM.
Due to the logjam, the JPC, which has been meeting on a weekly basis normally, has not met after July 31.

The committee, constituted in March last year, was to meet on August 7 but it was put off at the last minute following differences on calling witnesses. The meeting of the committee is unlikely to be held this week also, sources said.

In a bid to break the impasse, JPC chief P C Chacko has discussed the issue with various members individually.

In his meetings with Congress, BJP, DMK and Trinamool Congress members, Chacko is learnt to have requested them to prune their respective lists of witnesses so that JPC can end examinations by September and concentrate on writing the draft in October, the sources said.

Chacko has already stated that he would need a month to discuss the draft with members before finalising the report by December, when the JPC`s term ends.

Chacko is likely to meet members from AIADMK, SP, BSP and NCP in the coming days.