2G scam: Congress core group mulls ways to break impasse

Sunday, November 21, 2010

NEW DELHI - The Congress core committee met here Sunday evening to discuss the stalemate in parliament over vociferous demands from the opposition for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the 2G spectrum allocation scam.

The meeting at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s official 7 Race Course Road residence, was attended by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Defence Minister A.K. Antony and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

According to party sources, it was decided at the meeting that Mukherjee will speak to Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and other opposition party leaders Monday to break the impasse.

Parliament’s winter session that began Nov 9 has witnessed repeated adjournments over the opposition’s insistence for a JPC probe into the scam, even after A. Raja, who was at the heart of the controversy, resigned as communications and IT minister last Sunday.

Both BJP and the Left have noted that a Central Bureau of Investigation enquiry underway into the matter, cannot be taken seriously.

On the other hand, the government has stressed that a JPC is not necessary as a thorough audit of the 2G allocation by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), will be studied by parliament’s Public Accounts Committee that is headed by the BJP’s Murli Manohar Joshi.

Some Congress leaders also feel that if a JPC is at all set up, it should also deal with decisions on spectrum allocation taken by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government (1999-2004).

The CAG has indicted Raja and said his policies had caused a presumptive loss of Rs.58,000 crore ($12.8 billion) to Rs.1.76 lakh crore ($40 billion) to the exchequer.

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