Rajya Sabha approves setting up of JPC in 2G
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Last Updated: Tuesday, March 01, 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".


First Published: Tuesday, March 01, 2011, 21:42

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