VVIP chopper deal: JPC is an exercise in futility, says BJP



New Delhi: In an unusual development, several opposition parties including BJP today opposed setting up of a joint parliamentary committee to probe the chopper deal, contending that it "was an exercise in futility" and "diversionary tactic".

Shiv Sena, an NDA constituent delinked itself from BJP's position and supported formation of 30-member JPC to come out with a report in three months.

BJP, which had stalled the entire Winter Session of 2010 by persistently demanding a JPC probe into the 2-G scam, today walked out of Rajya Sabha over its formation contending that it will be of no use. As soon as Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath moved a motion for setting up of JPC, Leader of the Opposition, Arun Jaitley said his party cannot support it.

The noted lawyer said that the case required extradition as well as custodial interrogation to unravel the truth but JPC can have none of these powers. These can only done by an investigative agency like CBI.

He later led a walk out of party members. Members of CPI, JD (U), Trinamool and AGP also walked out.

Nath attacked them for the walk out, saying the opposition was running away from the issue particularly when they had wasted an entire session by demanding JPC probe over 2G issue.

"This is nothing but plain politics," he said before the motion was put to vote and passed.

Earlier, Jaitley said when government of India was pleading helplessness in getting information, it was not going to "descend from heaven" as one needed a proper case and an FIR for custodial interrogation of the accused.

He said he did not doubt the bonafides of the Defence Minister but "there is a sense of helplessness" in his speech that unless and until the governments of Italy and UK shared the information with Government of India, the details would not come.

"It is a strange case, bribe was given, transaction details are known, quantum of bribe is known, only bribe takers identity is not known...You have to register first step in criminal case and an FIR. By writing to Italy and Britain, you don't get details," he said.

He charged the government with waiting for 365 days in initiating a preliminary probe and in the process giving culprits sufficient time to destroy every piece of evidence.

He demanded to know whether the government was ready for a JPC, headed by an opposition member before staging a walk out.

Shivanand Tiwari (JD-U) said he was in favour of JPC if it is headed by the leader of opposition. V Maitreyan, AIADMK said had the government shown this swiftness in filing an FIR, culprits could have been booked.

Derek O'Brien (TMC) said by setting up JPC the government was covering up the issue and hence his party was walking out.

D Raja (CPI) sought deferring the motion in the wake of walk out by main opposition BJP and other parties saying, "We have reached an extraordinary situation ...Is it fair to take motion on JPC?"

Earlier, Jaitley said when government of India was pleading helplessness in getting information, it was not going to "descend from heaven" as one needed a proper case and an FIR for custodial interrogation of the accused.

He said he did not doubt the bonafides of the Defence Minister but "there is a sense of helplessness" in his speech that unless and until the governments of Italy and UK shared the information with Government of India, the details would not come.

"It is a strange case, bribe was given, transaction details are known, quantum of bribe is known, only bribe takers identity is not known...You have to register first step in criminal case and an FIR. By writing to Italy and Britain, you don't get details," he said.

He charged the government with waiting for 365 days in initiating a preliminary probe and in the process giving culprits sufficient time to destroy every piece of evidence.

He demanded to know whether the government was ready for a JPC, headed by an opposition member before staging a walk out.

Shivanand Tiwari (JD-U) said he was in favour of JPC if it is headed by the leader of opposition. V Maitreyan, AIADMK said had the government shown this swiftness in filing an FIR, culprits could have been booked.

Derek O'Brien (TMC) said by setting up JPC the government was covering up the issue and hence his party was walking out.

D Raja (CPI) sought deferring the motion in the wake of walk out by main opposition BJP and other parties saying, "We have reached an extraordinary situation ...Is it fair to take motion on JPC?"

PTI