Opposition demand for JPC probe into 2G unreasonable: Sibal

Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal alleged that the Opposition`s motive was "pure politics".

New Delhi: Rejecting the demand for a JPC probe into the allocation of 2G spectrum as unreasonable, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal on Sunday said such a process would not help achieve the objective "sought to be served" and alleged the Opposition`s motive was "pure politics".

The government is not averse to a Supreme Court-monitored probe, but does not want any executive authority to intervene, to ensure that the process is transparent and has the confidence of the people, Sibal said.

He said the government has initiated action to see if ineligible firms were given licences and as far as criminal culpability is concerned, the matter was being investigated.

"Criminal culpability is being investigated by the CBI and we are not averse to Supreme Court`s monitoring and ideally we don`t want any executive authority in between, so that the process is transparent and the public is confident that it is directly being investigated by the apex court and JPC cannot do anything better than that," Sibal said.

A JPC should emerge through a consensus or when there is a cause of national concern, the minister said, adding that the Opposition`s demand "is something to do with pure politics".

He asserted that the Telecom Ministry will look into the decision-making that took place from 2008-2009, as the action has already been initiated. The new operators that allegedly suppressed information to get licences would be issued showcause notices and asked to explain why their licences should not be cancelled.

"So I don`t see how demand for the JPC probe is based on reasons in the context of the objective that sought to be served," the Minister said, questioning the Opposition`s insistence on such a probe.
"If, however, the purpose is to mudsling in public and to score a political point or the purpose is to look at issues (that have) nothing to do with allocation of 2G spectrum, then it would mean JPC is being sought for purpose unrelated to the process of spectrum allocation," he added.

The standoff between the government and the Opposition over a JPC probe resulted in a near complete washout of the Winter Session of the Parliament, as proceedings have been disrupted everyday since November 10.

The government, Sibal said, is ready to discuss the issue in Parliament. "My fear is that the reason why the Opposition is not allowing a debate (is) because they don`t want a full-fledged debate on the issue, which shows that demand for a JPC is unreasonable," the minister said.

As far as future telecom policy is concerned, it is for the administrative ministry to decide upon and a JPC has no role to play in that, he said.

"So I want to know what is the rationale behind the demand for JPC. Let there be a debate on the floor of the House... Let`s discuss the issue first," he said, while claiming that the demand for JPC has become "an instrument" to create controversies on a daily basis so that the Indian democracy does not function.
Asked whether showcause notices have been issued, Sibal said it must be in the process.