All-party meet on 2G scam fails to end deadlock


Opposition rejects the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee proposal

The stalemate between the UPA government and the opposition parties over a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on the 2G spectrum scam failed to make headway.

In the all-party meeting, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had offered to attach five officials from various probe agencies of the government to Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC). But an adamant opposition flatly rejected the proposal and consolidated behind the demand for a JPC.

The PAC is currently scrutinising the CAG report on 2G spectrum allocations and the attachment of these agencies – including representatives from the police and CBI – could provide an added dimension to the PAC’s work.

Mukherjee had also suggested that while a JPC would be headed by a Congressman, the PAC was headed by a leading member of the Opposition, Murli Manohar Joshi of the BJP. However, his reasoning found no takers.

As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was out of Delhi this morning, Mukherjee told party leaders he would let the Opposition know of the government’s decision after consulting the Prime Minister.

It is learnt that Singh had told his party colleagues that if a JPC is what it takes to get the Opposition back in Parliament, he is ready for it. At the luncheon meet, some parties demanded that if there was a JPC, it must look into the matter since 1994, taking into account what had happened during the NDA regime. The BJP members present in the meeting said they had no objection to it. But the government remained non-committal.

The PMO is also under scrutiny for the Prime Minister’s “inaction” against the then telecom minister, A Raja and opposition leaders pointed out that the PAC would not be able to probe the role of the PMO.

When Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj told Mukherjee that a PAC probe was not acceptable and the matter must be referred to a JPC, CPI’s Gurudas Dasgupta echoed her views. “In 1991, after the stock market scam, we demanded a JPC to look into the role of the finance ministry. Manmohan Singh, then finance minister, agreed to a JPC. Now, his office (PMO) is involved. Why can’t we have another JPC?” he said.

Government managers argued that a permanent JPC in the form of the PAC already exists. But Swaraj said in the past 20 years, there had been four JPCs even though the PAC existed. She also said that the PAC along with a multiple agency probe is not a tested mechanism.

CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said, “The PAC can only look into the audit issues. But we want to identify the policy lapses and also recommend changes required in the policies of the government. This work has to be done through a JPC.”

DMK leader T R Baalu favoured a JPC, while Trinamool Congress representative Sudip Bandopadhyay argued: “In West Bengal, the assembly Speaker never allows a discussion on a CAG report until it is vetted by the PAC. He disallowed a discussion recently, as the state is heading for an election.”

By the time other members could link West Bengal elections and the 2G spectrum scam, Bandopadhyay observed that the government, if it wants, can consider the demand for a JPC. Opposition parties have stalled Parliament proceedings since the beginning of the Winter Session and are adamant over their demand for a JPC inquiry into the multi-crore 2G spectrum scam.

November 23, 2010
Business Standard

Comments

Anonymous said…
Given that this is 'Mediavigil', why has there been an ominous silence over the recent and apparent attempts my the maintstream media to cover the 2G scam involving A Raja? Are you a part of the media blackout too? Posting blog entries on the UID and intentionally neglecting the involvement of media personalities like Vir Sanghvi and Barkha Dutt in the biggest scam in India's history will not fool everyone mediavigil.

You better get your act together.
cv said…
Scams in Indian have become a part of life for people..there is nothing new. Hope the system should change to make the country green in every aspect!


Legal CV
Anonymous said…
Ajit Sahi, former Editor of Tehelka & former executive editor, Channel7 says at mediavigil@yahoogroups.com:

T N Ninan too symbolises rot in journalism

Mr. Ninan has avoided the main issue. And one can understand why.

The rise of the power brokers among journalists, as noted by S. Nihal Singh in
his article in Outlook, has come over the last twenty years or so.

Why?

One of the answers is that journalists no more have the legal protection against
their services being abruptly terminated by the management.

Earlier, the Working Journalist Act protected journalists from being targeted by
the management at the behest of the vested interests.

As Editor of Economic Times around 1988, Mr. Ninan was one of those who began
offering higher salaries to journalists if they stepped out of the Act and
signed a routine contract. As a result, he is one of the key people responsible
for the decimation of the journalists' rights.

The Act is still on the statute. But it is dead in spirit. What did Ninan expect
but the rise of the power-brokers masquerading as journalists thanks to his own
missionary work in ending the legal protection to the journalist?

As the editor-publisher of a business newspaper, Mr. Ninan himself is openly
beholden to corporate interests. Just look at what he writes: "Tata�
admittedly, had good reason for not wanting to see Dayanidhi Maran there
instead."

What is this supposed to mean? "Admittedly have a good reason"? So the Tatas are
justified in opposing the appointment of someone as a minister if that person
has not helped them in their business deals in the past?

It is the prerogative of the Prime Minister to choose his council of ministers.
Who are the Tatas to object to the choice of an individual? And why should Mr.
Ninan accept the validity of the Tatas' right to meddle in the Prime Minister's
Constitutionally mandated authority?

Mr. Ninan's editorial has only exposed the rot is deeper in journalism than one
can imagine.
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