Pranab Mukherjee takes on BJP over corruption

The entire Opposition has been demanding JPC probe into 2G spectrum scam.

Last Updated: Dec 04, 2010, 00:03 AM IST

New Delhi: Hitting back at the BJP for demanding a JPC probe into 2-G spectrum allocation, FMyinance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Friday said it had no right to speak
on the issue as Tehelka sting operation had earlier exposed its party president taking bribe on camera.

"People should not forget what we have seen in the earlier regime... what happened in Tehelka. How president of a national party was found taking money. It was on camera and if they talk of this corruption let them speak," Mukherjee told reporters outside Parliament House.

He was referring to a sting operation by Tehelka during the NDA regime when BJP president Bangaru Laxman was caught on camera taking bribe.

BJP-led NDA, the Left parties along with the rest of the Opposition, have stalled Parliament proceedings for 15 consecutive working days since November 10, demanding a JPC probe in the 2G scam.

Mukherjee also accused the press of conducting a "trial by media" in the 2G spectrum allocation case.

"We have started investigations into corruption from day one when the (VK Shunglu) Committee was appointed after the Commonwealth Games were over... immediately, as soon as the CAG report was available, the minister concerned has resigned.

Whether he is corrupt or not is not yet established," Mukherjee said.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal also attacked the Opposition for "persisting on its demand for JPC".

"There are 24 political parties in Parliament but in a JPC only 7 are represented. Do they want other parties not to be represented? We want a discussion on the 2G issue in Parliament and don`t mind if the discussion goes for even four days," Bansal told reporters outside Parliament.

He said two Congress members have already given notice in Lok Sabha under rule 193 to have a discussion on the issue.

"By persisting on its demand for JPC, the Opposition is politicising the issue and trying to mislead people," Bansal said.

Reacting to comments made by Mukherjee and Bansal, BJP said the government was trying to divert attention from the JPC demand by mentioning the Bangaru Laxman case.

"We should not divert this issue. Congress is trying to divert attention from this issue. Yesterday, LK Advani had given a detailed statement on why JPC should be instituted. We will not be party to any attempt of the government to divert attention from this," Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said in reply to a question.

He maintained that the since the UPA government had "dented" the credibility of CBI and CVC, there was no option but to go for a JPC.

"This government has affected the credibility of the two legitimate investigating agencies -- CBI and CVC -- to such an extent that today the government cannot expect us to believe that whatever CBI or CVC says would be the truth," he said.

"Parliament cannot abdicate its responsibility. The magnitude of this scam is so enormous that Parliamentary forums must necessarily inquire into it," he reasoned.

He justified the stalling of Parliament on the 2G Spectrum issue.

"If Parliamentary stalemate and pressure had not been there, resignation of (former telecom minister A) Raja would perhaps not have happened. Perhaps, the probe into
Commonwealth Games would not have begun and if the government wants to show its honesty so much why it is running away from a JPC probe?"

PTI