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Deadlock over 2G
Published on 22 Nov. 2010 7:19 PM IST
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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 portfolios, 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.
“PM’s 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.
2G spectrum probe
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Monday told the Supreme Court that it would complete its investigation into the second-generation (2G) spectrum allocation scandal and file a charge-sheet by March next year.
The investigating agency told the apex court bench headed by Justice G.S. Singhvi that it would complete its investigation within two months and require another one month to file the charge-sheet.
Appearing for the CBI, senior counsel K.K. Venugopal told the court that instead of hearing the matter on merit it should take up the issue whether there should be court-monitoring of the probe. The scam is alleged to have cost the nation thousands of crores.
Parliament fails to function for 7th day
Parliament failed to function for the seventh straight day today with opposition remaining adamant on its demand for JPC probe in the 2G spectrum issue, while Congress insisted on sacking of Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa over corruption charges.
The log-jam in Parliament persisted forcing adjournments of both Houses for the day without transacting any significant business as has been the case on all working days since the winter session began on November 9.
Chaotic scenes were witnessed in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, where an unrelenting opposition trooped to the well raising slogans demanding setting up of a Joint Parliamentary Committee to probe alleged irregularities in allocation of 2G spectrum, the conduct of the Commonwealth Games and the Adarsh housing scam in Mumbai. Congress members countered the opposition onslaught by rushing to the aisles demanding the resignation of Yeddyurappa in connection with the alleged irregularities in land allocations in the state favouring his sons. They were also seen waving placards. All the while, opposition chanted ‘We want JPC’ in the well.
Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari adjourned the Question Hour minutes after both the Houses met for the day. Deputy Speaker Karia Munda, who was in the chair, barely managed to get official reports placed before adjourning the House for the day.
In the Rajya Sabha, official papers were placed before the House amid the din by opposition and Congress members.
Deputy Chairman K. Rahman Khan then adjourned the House till tomorrow.
The impasse in Parliament continued even after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s promise two days back that action will be taken against anybody found guilty of any wrong doing in 2G specturm allocation. Dr. Singh had appealed to political parties to allow Parliament to function.

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