Pranab not in favour of PM appearing before PAC offer

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Kolkata, Jan 2 (ANI): Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday said that he is not in favour of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh appearing before the Public Accounts Committee on the 2G spectrum issue.

"The Prime Minister's offer to appear before the PAC was a decision taken by him without consulting us. If he had discussed it with me I would have advised him not to offer to appear before the PAC," he told a special meeting of the West Bengal PCC here.

"Constitutionally, the prime minister is accountable to Lok Sabha and not to any committee," Mukherjee said on Dr. Singh's letter to Parliament's Public Accounts Committee chairman Murli Manohar Joshi on December 27, offering to appear before it in the 2G spectrum scam probe.

Mukherjee further said that he was a "conservative who believed in following rules of the House".

Mukherjee further ruled out a Joint Parliamentary Investigation (JPC) into alleged irregularities in the scam, but appealed to the Opposition to let Parliament function smoothly.

"They (Opposition) should come back in the session. They should bring back normalcy. They should co-operate. We are always ready to listen to them.

"JPC itself will not investigate. What will the JPC do? The JPC will examine the papers or witnesses, take evidences and arrive at a conclusion. Then they will say 'this is our report, this is our conclusion. The government should investigate and punish the guilty.'

The Prime Minister made an unprecedented offer of appearing before the PAC at the Congress 83rd plenary meet on December 20, saying he has 'nothing to hide'.

"I sincerely believe that like Caesar"s wife, the Prime Minister should be above suspicion and it is for this reason that I am prepared to appear before the PAC even though there is no precedent to that effect," Dr. Singh had said.

Former Telecom Minister A Raja was forced to resign last month after a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) faulted him for undervaluing spectrum to favour companies who were largely ineligible for 2G spectrum, and added that the government had probably lost Rs.1.76 lakh crore in estimated revenue. (ANI)

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