Original terms of JPC changed at BJP''s instance

Posted By: Pti
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New Delhi, Feb 24 (PTI) BJP today claimed that thegovernment attempted to put a clause in the terms of referenceof the JPC on 2-G Spectrum allocation in a bid to keep formerTelecom Minister A Raja out of the panel''s purview.

BJP sources, preferring anonymity, said the draft ofthe terms of reference of the JPC that was sent to thesenior opposition leaders sought to provide for scrutiny ofdecisions taken by actions "by successive governmentsconsequent to decisions by the union cabinet..."

The relevant clause read "To examine policyprescriptions and their interpretation thereafter bysuccessive governments consequent to decisions by the unioncabinet in the allocation and pricing of telecom licenses andspectrum from 1998 to 2009."

The phrase "consequent to decisions by the unioncabinet" in the clause would have meant Raja would not beprobed as the 2-G Spectrum allocation issue never came up inthe cabinet headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

"Only the role of Arun Shourie, who was TelecomMinister during the NDA regime, would have been probed as thethen cabinet had taken a decision on it," a BJP leader said.

When the BJP top brass noticed this "sleight of hand"by the government, they got in touch with Telecom MinisterKapil Sibal and others and recorded their objection.

Sources said a senior minister then changed thewording and informed BJP about it.

The amended clause read "to examine policyprescriptions and their interpretation thereafter bysuccessive governments, including decisions by the unioncabinet and the consequences thereof, in the allocation andpricing of telecom licenses and spectrum from 1998 to 2009."

The amended version was acceptable to the BJP as itincludes cabinet decisions as well as those taken outside it.

This version was presented in the Lok Sabha and passedunanimously.

During the run-up to the passage of the CivilLiability for Nuclear Damages Bill, BJP had expressedreservations about a clause where use of the word "and"instead of "or" would have benefited nuclear suppliers byputting them above all liability for the goods supplied bythem.

After the BJP raised a hue and cry, the clause wassuitably amended before being passed in Parliament.

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