Rajya Sabha approves setting up of JPC in 2G

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 1, 2011 - 21:42

New Delhi: Rajya Sabha on Tuesday approved setting
up of a Joint Parliamentary Committee for probing the 2G
spectrum scam after the government assured it of not sparing
any wrong-doer.

The Lok Sabha has already cleared the setting up of JPC
which will examine irregularities and aberrations, if any in
the implementation of government decisions and policy
prescriptions on telecom licences and spectrum from 1998 to
2009.

"I do pray that the kind of partisan seen in the House
during the debate will not be witnessed in JPC," Telecom
Minister Kapil Sibal said, winding up the debate on the motion
for appointment of the JPC.

The Parliamentary panel will also make recommendations to
ensure appropriate procedures for allocation and pricing of
telecom licences.

It will examine policy prescriptions and their
interpretation by successive governments, including the
decisions of the Union Cabinet and the consequences thereof,
in the allocation and pricing of licences and spectrum.

Sibal said former Telecom Minister A Raja was being
prosecuted for the possibility of criminal culpability.

".... the possibility of criminal culpability is the
reason why he (Raja) has been prosecuted," Sibal said, adding
that there was also a possibility that there were
irregularities in implementation of the policy.

Besides 20 members from the Lok Sabha, the JPC has 10 MPs
from the Rajya Sabha. They are: PJ Kurien, Jayanthi Natarajan
and Praveen Rashtrapal (all Cong), Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M), T
Siva (DMK), SS Ahluwalia and Ravi Shankar Prasad (both BJP),
YP Trivedi (NCP), Satish Chandra Mishra (BSP) and Ramchandra
Prasad Singh (JD-U).

Natarajan has replaced Abhishek Singhvi who has recused
himself from the JPC as he had appeared as advocate in the
court for cellular operators.

Ahlulwalia, even objected to Singhvi participating in the
debate on the same ground. Instead, Singhvi hit back saying
there are members of BJP who have conflict of interests.

In his spat with Sibal, Ahluwalia said Finance Minister in
2007-08 may also be summoned by the Parliamentary panel.

Government had agreed for JPC after the Opposition
threatened to disrupt the Budget session of Parliament as
well, after almost the entire winter session was washed out.

In his reply to the debate, Sibal said he never said there
would be zero loss to the exchequer if spectrum was auctioned.

"I never said if spectrum were auctioned it would fetch no
price...if spectrum was auctioned the price would be zero,"
he said moving the motion.

Sibal was under attack for his observations that there was
a zero loss, in contrast to the CAG findings which pegged the
presumptive loss at Rs 1.76 lakh crore because of alleged
irregularities in spectrum allocation in 2007.

Admitting that the NDA regime did err on telecom licensing
policy in the initial years, Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley
said the UPA Government is drawing a parallel between
judgmental mistakes and "scandals".

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, March 1, 2011 - 21:42

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