World | India

JPC to finalise its 2G report Thursday

Panel divided over the culpability of former telecom minister Raja

  • IANS
  • Published: 18:53 April 24, 2013
  • Gulf News

New Delhi: S) A divided Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probing the 2G spectrum issue will meet Thursday to finalise its report, sources said Wednesday.

Sources said the report had laid the blame for the losses to the public exchequer on account of faulty allocation of spectrum and grant of licences on former telecom minister A. Raja, clearing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram of any wrongdoing.

Thursday’s meeting will debate the report and adopt a final version, along with any dissent notes, according to sources.

There was no precedent of a JPC report being put to vote, but allowing dissent notes was a democratic practice.

The JPC is divided over the culpability of Raja, whose note submitted to the panel has stated that everything he did was in consultation with the prime minister.

Raja had sought permission of Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar to depose before the JPC, but was allowed only to submit a note, which has been incorporated into the draft report, sources said.

The opposition is also miffed that contents of the draft report were allegedly leaked to the media last week, even before the report was finalised.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the DMK, former partner of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance, have given privilege notices against JPC chief P.C. Chacko to the Lok Sabha speaker.

Losses

While the BJP is miffed that the draft report allegedly says the government incurred losses of over Rs400 billion (Dh27 billion) during the tenure of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the DMK is upset that its leader and former telecom minister A. Raja has been blamed for faulty 2G spectrum allocation.

The Left too is angry over the alleged leak.

BJP member Yashwant Sinha again wrote to the prime minister April 23 asking him to appear before the JPC and clear the air about his alleged involvement in the spectrum scam.

Sinha had written a similar letter earlier, which Manmohan Singh had rejected, saying all the documents had been provided to the JPC.

In the past, BJP members boycotted the panel demanding that both the prime minister and Chidambaram be called.

In 2011, an entire winter session of parliament was washed out as the BJP did not allow either house to run till a JPC probe was set up.

The issue came up after the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) alleged a presumptive loss of Rs1.76 trillion in the allocation of 2G spectrum licences during the UPA-I government 2004-2009.

The draft report of JPC negates the findings of the official auditor, saying Raja had changed the cut-off date for the allocation of spectrum without notice, and this amounted to an irregularity.

The report further said it was a policy decision to give licences on first-come-first-served basis, and not to go for auction.

It noted that the move was backed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

It also said Chidambaram had no role in decision-making.

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