‘Government likely to agree to JPC on 2G spectrum controversy’

Friday, February 18, 2011

NEW DELHI - The government is likely to accept the demand for a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe into the 2G spectrum controversy provided the opposition does not insist on expanding its scope to other alleged scams, Congress party sources said Friday.

Party sources said that informal discussions are being held in the government over the possible contours of a JPC which will have representation from both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.

“It may have 21 members. There are many issues on which a final decision has to be taken, including the number of members from the two houses. There also has to be a broad agreement on the terms of reference,” a Congress leader told IANS on condition of anonymity.

The leader said that seven-eight parties may find representation on a JPC, including the Left as a combined block, and each party is expected to send its nominee.

Congress sources said the party may not insist on its earlier demand for a debate preceding announcement of a JPC if the motion of its formation is moved by the government.

They said that discussions were being held within the party and with the opposition parties to work out the modalities of the JPC.

Party leaders, however, said the JPC would be formed only on 2G spectrum.

“If the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) insists on including other alleged cases of corruption, incluing the Commonwealth Games and Adarsh Housing Society in the terms of reference of the committtee, there might not be a JPC at all. If all the issues are taken together, the exercise will become directionless,” the leader said.

He said the government was not convinced about the demand for JPC but had agreed to it in the face of opposition’s unrelenting insistence.

“Action has already been iniated against those suspected of wrongdoing in the 2G spectrum controversy. JPC will only make recommendations which the governmet will act upon. Action is already being taken,” the leader said.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said Friday that a decision on forming a JPC to probe the irregularities in 2G spectrum allocation will be taken “before Wednesday”. The budget session of parliament begins Monday.

The Nov 9-Dec 13 winter session of parliament was crippled by opposition demands for a JPC to probe the 2G spectrum scam and the government refusing to relent. Not much of the scheduled business could be transacted during the session.

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