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Rajya Sabha approves JPC probe
New Delhi, Mar 2 (IANS):
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Published on 3 Mar. 2011 12:29 AM IST
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The process for formation of a 30-member joint parliamentary committee to probe the 2G spectrum allocation scam was completed with the Rajya Sabha Tuesday naming 10 of its members on the panel. Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar is expected to announce the panel and the chairperson this week.
Communications Minister Kapil Sibal moved the motion in the Rajya Sabha for constituting the JPC which will investigate the 2G spectrum policy introduced in 1998 by the then National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.
He also defended his predecessor A. Raja, who had to resign after the CBI filed a case against him and is at present in jail, saying several nations adopted different spectrum policy, but no minister was sent to jail for that.
But this line of argument did not cut ice with the Leader of Opposition in the upper house Arun Jaitley, who said Raja cannot be defended as the country had witnessed fixing of ministers and officials, apart from lobbying by the telecom industry, which needed to be probed. Among the Rajya Sabha’s nominees on the JPC are P.J. Kurien, Jayanthi Natarajan and Praveen Rashtrapal from the Congress; S.S. Ahluwalia and Ravi Shankar Prasad of the BJP; and Tiruchi Siva from UPA ally DMK, to which Raja belongs.
Earlier, Congress member Abhishek Manu Singhvi withdrew himself from the panel saying he had appeared for cellular operators in court as a senior advocate. Others from the upper house on the panel are Yogendra P. Trivedi (NCP), Ramchandra Prasad Singh (JD-U), Satish Chandra Misra (BSP) and Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M).
The Lok Sabha had last week given its nod for the JPC and nominated Congress’ V. Kishore Chandra Deo, Paban Singh Ghatowar, Jai Prakash Agarwal, Deepender Singh Hooda, P.C Chacko, Manish Tewari, Nirmal Khatri, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury; BJP’s Jaswant Singh, Yaswant Sinha, Harin Pathak and Gopinath Munde; DMK’s T.R Baalu; and M. Thambi Durai of the AIADMK, which is the main opposition to the ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu.
Others from the lower house are Kalyan Banerjee (Trinamool Congress), Sharad Yadav (JD-U), Dara Singh Chauhan (BSP), Akhilesh Yadav (SP), Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI), and Arjun Charan Sethi (BJD). With this, Congress will have 11 members and BJP eight on the panel. The report of the JPC is to be tabled in the parliament by the end of the monsoon session later this year.
The formation of the JPC, the fifth so far, comes after the opposition brought pressure on the government by disrupting the winter session citing government auditors’ report that the second generation spectrum was sold at throwaway prices causing a loss of Rs.1.76 lakh crore to the exchequer.
Earlier in the day, Lok Sabha had to be adjourned twice and Rajya Sabha once with opposition members repeatedly disrupting proceedings by rushing to the chair over multiple issues such as plight of farmers in Madhya Pradesh, the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, caste census and phone tapping.
Opposition members, particularly from the BJP and SAD benches, in both houses sought to raise the killing of Sikhs in Rewari district of Haryana in the anti-Sikh riots in 1984. The issue surfaced after a Sikh organisation claimed to have dug out the details of the massacre.
Uproarious scenes were witnessed in the Lok Sabha over caste census with opposition members cutting across party lines demanding data to be collected on the economic, educational and social backwardness of all communities to help developmental planning.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Home Minister P. Chidambaram had to assure the house that the members’ suggestions would be considered provided they gave it in writing the details they wanted collected under the census exercise.
AIADMK members in the Lok Sabha too were agitated and raised the issue of their leader J. Jayalalithaa’s phones being tapped by the government.
BJP members, separately, created uproar over the plight of farmers in Madhya Pradesh claiming that frost had damaged their crops.

 
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