As Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman Murli Manohar Joshi intends to take on the UPA on the 2G spectrum allocation scam, differences have surfaced within the committee. A section of PAC members have begun questioning Dr Joshi’s authority. The Congress had earlier described Dr Joshi’s decisions as PAC chairman as “politically motivated”.
Sources said some PAC members, mostly from the Congress and DMK, are against the parallel probe into the 2G spectrum issue after the constitution of a joint parliamentary committee (JPC). These members feel there is no point in two parliamentary committees probing the same case, especially when Opposition members had raised a hue and cry for a JPC during the Winter Session of Parliament last year. However, Opposition members in the PAC have been backing the PAC probe into the 2G spectrum issue and also want the report on the issue submitted soon.
The issue of a parallel probe into the case has also been raised by JPC chairman P.C. Chacko who had taken this up before Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar. Mr Chacko had also asked Dr Joshi to withdraw. However, Dr Joshi remained firm on his stand that the PAC has been given the mandate and the committee is going according to it. He had also said he would continue to look into the 2G spectrum issue.
Sources disclosed that some members had also raised the issue of the PAC going beyond its specific mandate of looking into the financial aspects of 2G spectrum allocation highlighted in the CAG report. However, Dr Joshi had said the PAC has a constitutional mandate to look into matters where any loss to the government exchequer has occurred.
Continuing its attack on the BJP over the PAC versus a JPC, the Congress on Wednesday said the Dr M.M. Joshi-headed committee should defer to the JPC as his party has contended that it does not have “policy remit” in the 2G spectrum probe.
After the PAC took “serious note” of AICC spokesperson Manish Tewari’s comments that the Mr Tiwari said, “I respect Murli Manohar Joshi personally. It’s not an issue concerning the PAC, rather, it is linked to the BJP’s opportunistic politics.”
Mr Tewari said if the BJP is correct that the PAC does not have the policy remit, then the PAC needs to defer to the JPC, which obviously has a wider, and a focused, mandate on telecom issues. “If the PAC or Joshi is correct then the BJP should apologise to the nation for washing out the entire Winter Session of Parliament seeking a JPC on the premise that the PAC cannot go into policy issues,” the Congress MP said. Mr Tewari had on Tuesday alleged that the “duplicity” and “opportunism” of the BJP in demanding a JPC had been exposed by the way the PAC had taken up the 2G probe. Asian Age