Sinha upset by PM's refusal to appear before JPC on 2G

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Yashwant Sinha
New Delhi, April 9: Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said on Tuesday that he was "surprised and disappointed" by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's reply to the April 1 letter in which he had urged the PM to depose before the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on the 2G spectrum scam.

Sinha said that he again sent a letter to the PM on Monday, stressing that the JPC cannot unravel the truth merely from government documents and records. The BJP leader pointed out that he and some other members of the panel want former telecom minister A Raja who is embroiled in the 2G scam to depose as a witness before them.

Earlier, the PM had claimed that "all pertinent records and documents available with the Government have already been placed at the disposal of the JPC." Averring that "...neither the Government nor I have anything to hide in this matter," Singh wrote to Sinha on April 2 that "The decision as to what evidence should be sought and which individuals should be asked to appear before the JPC is a matter that needs to be decided internally by the JPC and its Chairman."

In his response, the BJP leader recalled that Singh had once offered to appear before the Parliamentary Accounts Committee although the PAC unlike the JPC does not have the authority to call serving union ministers or the prime minister. Sinha further noted that even members of the PAC normally decide who should be called as a witness and yet the PM "made a grand offer publicly to appear before it."

He demanded to know if Singh was "right in making that offer", why the prime minister is not making a similar offer to appear before the JPC.

As for the PM's claim that the government has nothing to hide, Sinha said: "If it was so, then a number of crucial documents could not have been held back from the JPC as the government did. These documents had to be literally ferreted out of (the) government by the JPC when the media brought them into the public domain."

Incidentally, the BJP leader has been demanding that JPC Chairman PC Chacko allow A Raja to depose as a witness. Several Left and DMK members of the JPC also repeatedly pressed Chacko to call the former telecom minister. However, the chairman rejected their demand.

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