The Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on Thursday probing the 2G spectrum allocation scandal has decided to ask Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Vinod Rai to appear before it on May 30 to spell out how the auditing body presumed a loss of 1.76 lakh crore in the 2G spectrum allocation.
The list of witnesses likely to appear before the panel, which is scrutinising all aspects of the telecom policy sector from 1998 to 2009, includes former telecom ministers of the NDA and UPA regimes and corporate players. BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, who was a member of the Group of Ministers (GoM) on telecom in the NDA regime, offered to depose before the JPC.
The JPC meeting witnessed sparring between Congress and BJP members over some issues including the CAG report. BJP member SS Ahluwalia suggested that the CAG report should be incorporated in the proceedings of the meeting. This was met with resistance from the ruling side with Congress MPs Manish Tewari and Deepender Hooda saying that it would mean approving its contents.
Earlier, Rai had appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) headed by BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi . He had defended his report on the 2G spectrum allocation saying it was based on computation. The CBI had pegged the losses at 31,000 crore.
CBI director A P Singh is expected to appear before the JPC on June 7 followed by finance ministry officials on June 8. Singh, who had also deposed before the PAC, had refuted telecom minister Kapil Sibal’s claim that 2G spectrum allocation had caused “zero loss” to the national exchequer.
According to sources, the Committee has decided to look at decisions like grant of free spectrum, migration package and grant of 122 licenses. It would also examine the beneficiaries of these decisions.
On Thursday, officials from the telecom department appeared before the JPC. Members of the panel were of the view that there were several loopholes in their presentation and wanted them to return with more details on the ground that there was not enough information on the CAG report on 2G spectrum.
Earlier, BJP MP Yashwant Sinha objected to details of the proceedings being leaked to the media by JPC members. Committee chairman PC Chacko asked members to refrain from briefing the media. Economic Times