PM, PC clean: JPC acts like super CAG and plays judge

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Manmohan Singh and Chidambaram
New Delhi, April 19: The timing and selective leakage of the draft report of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on 2G spectrum allocation is intriguing. The draft not only tries to act like a super CAG, questioning the figure and the method of the CAG, it also acts like a judge to give a clean chit to the prime minister.

Naturally, the opposition BJP is calling it a Congress document. The BJP said the leakage to the media a "gross breach of parliamentary propriety".

The draft report of the JPC rubbishes the loss figure of Rs 1.76 lakh crore estimated by CAG, saying it was "ill-conceived". It also questions the methods adopted by the CAG, including its use of 3G auction figures (the auction was carried out in 2010) to compute the so-called presumptive loss in 2008.

The JPC draft report gives a clean chit to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on 2G spectrum allocation, saying he was "misled" by the then Telecom Minister A Raja whose assurances stood "belied". It also says that Finance Minister P. Chidambaram did not do anything wrong.

The report says Raja had tweaked the rules to award mobile permits to a few chosen companies, and that the prime minister and finance minister were not informed about the changes.

"The committee is inclined to conclude that the prime minister was misled about the procedure decided to be followed by the Department of Telecommunications. Further, the assurance given by the minister of communications and information technology in all his correspondence with the prime minister to maintain full transparency in following established rules and procedures of the department stood belied," the draft report said.

BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said today that "the draft report of the JPC on 2G issues has been widely reported in the media. This is a gross breach of well settled parliamentary propriety where any report/draft is debated, discussed, amendments are moved in the formal meeting and thereafter a view is taken."

"Going by the contents of the report in the media, I can only say the 2G scam was one of biggest scams in the history of independent India, which shamed the country world over and what has been published in the media... I can only say it appears more to be a Congress document not a JPC draft report," he said.

"There is a keen overpowering desire to exonerate the prime minister and finance minister and yet to objectively consider the ramification of this massive scam which has shamed the country," Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

"Yesterday (Thursday) night I received a phone call and a message from the office of the JPC that the draft report is being sent. We waited till midnight but the report did not come. I personally talked to many members of the JPC and they also said they have not received the report," he said.

"I have received the draft report hardly few moments ago and I am yet to go through it... I cross-checked with many members and they have not received it till now," he said.

Why is the government leaking the report now? Is it because of Karnataka elections or needle DMK and allies?

Meanwhile, sticking to its demand that Raja be allowed to depose before the JPC on 2G, the DMK today said the panel's report will be a "waste" if he does not get an opportunity to give an explanation on the allegations.

Reacting to the draft JPC report which says that Raja "misled" the prime minister, the DMK termed it as a "false accusation" against its leader.

"Without calling him (Raja), it is a false accusation which has no meaning," party MP T K S Elangovan said. "If he is to blame, he has to be called and his explanation should be sought and then they should come out with a report JPC doesn't want to call Raja, then the report itself can't be taken as right," he said.

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