Pranab’s effort to resolve JPC deadlock fails

Monday, November 22, 2010

NEW DELHI - Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee’s effort to resolve the deadlock over a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe into the 2G spectrum scam failed Monday with the opposition rejecting the government’s proposal to have a multi-agency investigating agency to help the public accounts committee (PAC).

“The stalemate continues,” Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) leader Ajit Singh said after the all-party meeting with Mukherjee.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader S.S. Ahluwalia said the government had proposed to tie an investigative mechanism with the PAC but the opposition parties rejected it.

The entire opposition rejected it in one voice, Ahluwalia told reporters, adding they were firm on the demand for JPC.

Unlike the PAC, the JPC can call a minister and even the prime minister, he said.

Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj also raised the issue of corporates trying to influence ministerial appointments and portforlios, Ahluwalia said.

He said recent disclosures of taped conversations had divulged how corporates were influencing anchors, writers and journalists to write in the interest of a person going to benefit a corporate house.

This issue, in Ahluwalia’s view, could be part of the terms of reference of a parliamentary committee.

At Mukherjee’s last meeting with opposition leaders on Nov 15, he had said he would get back on the JPC demand after consulting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Ahluwalia said.

Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Gurudas Dasgupta said the role of the prime minister was in question” and only a JPC could meed ends of justice.

PMs inaction has led to colossal loss to exchequer. That can be looked by JPC, Dasgupta said.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has indicted A. Raja, who resigned as communications minister over the 2G scandal, said his policies could have caused a loss of up to Rs.1.76 lakh crore ($40 billion) to the exchequer.

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 Raja, who was at the heart of the controversy, resigned.

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