5 BJP members walk out of JPC on 2G spectrum scam

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2G Scam
New Delhi, Aug 22: BJP today staged a walkout from a meeting of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) that is probing the 2G scam. The main opposition party later rued that the panel chairman PC Chacko had not restrained those members who had accused the BJP of turning the JPC into a "kangaroo court".

"We had to walkout of the JPC meeting after the unparliamentary behaviour of Congress members in the meeting. Foul language was used against us. We had only asked that the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister should be called to the JPC," BJP leader Yashwant Sinha told newspersons.

He was joined in the walkout by Jaswant Singh, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Dharmendra Pradhan and Gopinath Munde. Prasad explained, "It was amazing to see the behaviour of first time MPs of Congress using such language against us. A hostile atmosphere was created so we had no option but to walk out."

However, PC Chacko averred that the five members had walked out without any provocation.

BJP had earlier threatened to withdraw from the JPC if Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Pulok Chatterjee (Principal Secretary to Prime Minister's Office) and TKA Nair (Advisor to the Prime Minister) are not included in the list of persons who shall depose before the panel.

Congress members have strongly opposed this demand. Of the total 30 MPs in the JPC, 20 belong to the Lok Sabha. The panel was set up in Mar 2012 after a prolonged standoff between the opposition and the government.

Last year, the Winter Session of Parliament ended with only ten working hours on record as the BJP-led NDA pressed for a JPC to study the 2G scam. The opposition cited the Comptroller and Auditor General's report to buttress its case.

The CAG had said that flawed 2G spectrum allocation in 2008 caused a presumptive loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the state exchequer.

The panel's mandate covers not only the 2G scam that resulted from the controversial decisions taken by former Telecom minister A Raja on pricing of mobile network licenses and spectrum allocation, it is also expected to examine the telecom policies of NDA and UPA governments which were in power from 1998 to 2009.

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