Follow precedents on JPC, BJP urges PM (Second Lead)

December 28th, 2010 - 10:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Dec 28 (IANS) A day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wrote to parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) offering to appear before it, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said he should follow precedents and agree to a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe into the 2G spectrum scandal. “The prime minister has volunteered to break a precedent. We do not want him to break a precedent, we are not even interested in that. We are just asking him to follow the precedent,” BJP spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy said here.

He said there have been JPCs in the past and the entire opposition was making the demand for the parliamentary panel probe into the scam which had caused a huge loss to the exchequer.

He said the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report had estimated the loss at Rs.1.76 lakh crore.

“We are not ready to accept anything less than JPC,” Rudy said.

while Murli Manohar Joshi, a senior BJP leader and chairman of PAC, said Monday that the panel was not tied by the CAG report, Rudy asserted the BJP’s earlier position that PAC would just look into accounts and paragraphs of the CAG report.

“The PAC is working, will keep working. The JPC will go into accountability and issues of governance,” Rudy said.

Responding to the prime minister’s offer, Joshi had said that an appropriate decision will be taken at an appropriate time, depending on the collective wisdom of PAC members.

Rudy did not comment on Joshi’s remarks about the PAC having powers to go beyond the CAG report and look into any misuse of public money.

Joshi had also said that the PAC may go by one of the three calculations of presumptive loss - due to spectrum allocation at below market price - made in the CAG report or make its own assessment.

“I am sure chairman of PAC is aware of his duties there. No comment on that,” Rudy said.

However, he added that Joshi had never said that JPC was not needed.

The BJP’s reiteration of its position on JPC came after the prime minister Monday followed on his assurance at the Congress plenary a week ago and wrote to the PAC chief conveying his willingness to appear before it.

Manmohan Singh noted that while there was no precedence of a prime minister appearing before a parliamentary panel, he was ready to do so.

Leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj also indicated that the BJP would insist on a JPC probe.

“The scope of PAC is totally different from that of JPC,” she Tuesday posted on her Twitter account, sushmaswarajBJP.

“While PAC deals with accounts, JPC deals with accountability and governance,” she added.

Sushma Swaraj added that the BJP will attend a meeting called by Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar to break the logjam between the government and opposition parties. “We will attend the meeting called by Hon’ble Speaker,” the BJP leader tweeted.

Protests by the entire opposition, including the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), the Left parties, demanding a JPC probe into the telecom scandal led to near wash out of the winter session of Parliament.

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