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BJP differs over PAC
NEW DELHI, Dec 28 (Agencies/IANS):
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Published on 29 Dec. 2010 12:16 AM IST
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Insisting that the JPC has a different scope, BJP on Tuesday said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s offer to appear before the PAC has “no meaning” though PAC chairman Murli Manohar Joshi has made it clear that his panel was independent to go into the 2G spectrum issue.
Joshi, a senior BJP leader, appeared to be having a divergent view with Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj contending that the PAC cannot even call a minister.
“Under the Lok Sabha Rules, PAC cannot call a minister, much less the Prime Minister. (The) Prime Minister’s offer therefore, has no meaning,” she tweeted.
Sushma also went on to question Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in her tweets even claiming that the scope of PAC was totally different from that of a Joint Parliamentary Committee and that the PAC only dealt with accounts.
She tweeted, “Pranab Da, if PAC is no different from JPC, then why is there a provision for JPC in the Rule book? The scope of PAC is totally different from that of JPC. While PAC deals with accounts, JPC deals with accountability and governance. Under Lok Sabha Rules, PAC cannot call a Minister, much less the Prime Minister. Prime Minister’s offer therefore, has no meaning.”
Her comments come a day after Prime Minister wrote to PAC chairman Joshi expressing his readiness to appear before the panel, which is probing the 2G spectrum scam.
Joshi, who does not seem to be very enthusiastic about the campaign for a JPC, yesterday said that the PAC will take an “appropriate decision at an appropriate time” on Prime Minister’s offer after going through rules and procedures and in accordance with them.
Under Speaker’s Direction 99 under the rules of procedures and conduct of business in Lok Sabha, the 22-member PAC cannot call a minister to give evidence or for consultations in connection with the examination of accounts by it.
The chairman of the committee, however, may have an informal talk with a minister on the subject under consideration by the committee. Since the Prime Minister’s offer is unprecedented in its nature, the Speaker may have to devise a procedure on how the committee could accept it.
Meanwhile, according to IANS, BJP spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy said while the prime minister had volunteered to break a precedent, the party did not want him to break a precedent. “We are just asking him to follow the precedent,” he added.
He said there have been JPCs in the past and the entire opposition was making the demand for the parliamentary panel probe into the scam which had caused a huge loss to the exchequer.
He said the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report had estimated the loss at Rs.1.76 lakh crore.
“We are not ready to accept anything less than JPC,” Rudy said. Rudy did not comment on Joshi’s remarks about the PAC having powers to go beyond the CAG report and look into any misuse of public money.
“I am sure chairman of PAC is aware of his duties there. No comment on that,” Rudy said.
However, he added that Joshi had never said that JPC was not needed.
I fully cooperated with the CBI, says Raja
Chennai, Dec 28 (PTI): Former Telecom Minister A Raja, who is likely to be quizzed again by the CBI as part of its probe into the 2G spectrum allocation scam, today said he had “fully cooperated” with the probe agency during his two-day questioning in New Delhi last week.
“I have fully cooperated with the CBI,” he told reporters here on his arrival at the airport here from Delhi, two days after the agency grilled him.
The 47-year-old DMK leader declined to divulge any details about his questioning.
Raja had appeared before the CBI in response to a Dec 20 notice summoning him, days after his residences in New Delhi and in Tamil Nadu were searched by the agency.
On Dec 24, he was questioned for nine hours on the controversial advancing of dates for allocation of spectrum and alleged funding of some of the telecom companies by his kin. The next day, CBI sleuths also focused on the tapped conversation of Raja with corporate lobbyist Niira Radia.
Sources have said that Raja is likely to be quizzed again as he failed to give satisfactory answers to queries on the advancement of dates and the funding of some of the telecom companies.
Raja was forced to resign on November 14 from the union Cabinet in the wake of a CAG report which held that the spectrum allocation at undervalued prices resulted in a notional loss of Rs.1.76 lakh crore to the exchequer.

 
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