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PAC`s powers go beyond CAG report: Joshi

Parliament`s Public Accounts Committee chairperson MM Joshi on Thursday indicated that overlapping of functions of the panel and the JPC into 2G spectrum scam was not a matter of concern and his powers went beyond the CAG report.



New Delhi: Parliament`s Public Accounts
Committee chairperson M M Joshi on Thursday indicated that
overlapping of functions of the panel and the JPC into 2G
spectrum scam was not a matter of concern and his powers went
beyond the CAG report.

In an interaction with the media, Joshi said the
Public Accounts Committee has a "constitutional mandate" and
its functions extend to areas other than CAG reports.
Reading out the Terms of Reference of the PAC, he
said, the committee has to satisfy that the "moneys shown in
the accounts as having been disbursed were legally available
for, and applicable to, the service or purpose to which they
been applied or charged."

He said the PAC will also check if the "expenditure
conforms to the authority which governs it".

Though Joshi avoided a direct reply to queries on
whether he felt JPC has more and wide-ranging powers, he gave
broad indications that PAC would continue its probe into the
2G Spectrum allocation despite the formation of the joint
panel under P C Chacko.

"There can not just be overlapping but several
overlaps (on the 2-G spectrum scam). There can be overlapping
with JPC. There can be overlapping with the Supreme Court.

There can be overlapping with the CBI probe," Joshi said, in
reply to a question on whether overlapping between JPC and PAC
would lead to problems.
This appeared to be a mild rebuff to JPC chairperson P
C Chacko who had earlier said that PAC should not launch a
parallel probe on the 2-G spectrum issue and confine itself to
the CAG report.

"I (PAC) am a perpetual body. PAC will be there
whether JPC is there or not," Joshi said, adding that the PAC
has been investigating the matter even before formation of the
JPC.

The BJP leader maintained that before him the 2-G
spectrum issue was being looked into by the PAC even under the
chairpersonship of his predecessors Jaswant Singh and Gopinath
Munde.

"We are doing our duty. We are doing our
constitutional as well as our moral duty," he said.

Asked if Chacko had written a letter suggesting that
the PAC confine itself to the CAG report, Joshi replied in the
negative.

"He may have written a letter but I have not received
any," Joshi said, adding that if he gets a letter from Chacko
he would look into it.

Asked if Chacko had met him, Joshi said he has been
meeting him in Parliament. He did not rule out that the issue
may have come up during their casual meetings.

Joshi was evasive on whether and when some prominent
journalists who figure in the Niira Radia tapes would be
called by the PAC.

"It is for the committee to decide," he said.
Sources said some of the outgoing members of the
present PAC were opposed to calling the journalists but with a
new PAC taking over from May 1, the opinion is likely to
change.

Joshi said most of the PAC members had expressed
happiness with the presentation made by The Pioneer
correspondent Gopi Krishnan, Outlook editor Vinod Mehta and
Open editor Manu Joseph.

PTI

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