‘Caesar’s wife’ PM has something to hide: BJP

Monday, December 20, 2010

NEW DELHI - The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Monday accused Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of being “defensive” and “hiding something”, after he offered to appear before parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in connection with the 2G spectrum scam.

Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley criticised the ruling party that is holding its 83rd plenary here saying: Congress is actually on the defensive and in this defensive session, we saw an address by the defensive PM.”

The leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha asked if Manmohan Singh “wants to be Caesar’s wife and be above suspicion, (otherwise) why is he quibbling between the (Joint Parliamentary Committee) JPC and the PAC”.

The PM is hiding something. He is hiding the fact that the 2G spectrum took place in 2007 and the PM is hiding … why he kept silent about it all these years. It is this one issue and he cannot answer this to PAC, Jaitley told reporters.

Manmohan Singh told the plenary said he was ready to appear before the PAC investigating the telecom scam. He ruled out any formation of a JPC.

“I sincerely believe that like Caesar’s wife, the prime minister should be above suspicion. And for this reason, I am prepared to appear before the PAC even though there is no precedent to that effect,” the prime minister said.

But the BJP leader said Caesar’s wife doesn’t chose the forum of inquiry… Caesar’s wife never said the investigation should be held by the forum of my choice…If you have nothing to hide, you should come upfront before any forum of investigation.

Jaitley said the 2G spectrum scandal has become much larger than a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report over it.

He said the opposition wanted to know how was the policy framed, who was behind the appointment of (IT and communications) minister. It has emerged that corporates and lobbyists have a role to play. The PM cannot answer these questions either before the auditor or the PAC.

The PAC has a narrow jurisdiction… It gets its jurisdiction from the CAG report. The nation is awaiting your answers…These answers cannot be given before your party meetings or PAC or auditor, Jaitley said, signalling that the opposition would stick to its demand for a JPC probe.

He took a dig at the Congress for its “references to the BJP in its plenary.

It is a party on the backfoot. There is a much reference to the BJP than their own party. The Congress is suffering from the BJP phobia, he said.

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