BJP MPs walk out of 2G JPC meet, say no point in continuing (Second Lead)

September 18th, 2012 - 6:35 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 18 (IANS) BJP members of a parliamentary panel probing the 2G spectrum allocation walked out of a meeting Tuesday against the chairman’s refusal to call Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to depose, saying they felt there was no point in continuing to be members of the committee.

A final decision on whether to continue or withdraw from the joint committee will be taken later, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yashwant Sinha said.

“There is no point in continuing in the JPC. The way it is functioning, it is quite clear JPC is not any more an instrument for uncovering truth but for putting a cover on the scam,” Sinha said, adding a final decision will be taken after the party-called Sep 20 Bharat Bandh (India shutdown).

“Immediately after Bharat Bandh, we will decide on future course of action; whether we have to continue in the committee or leave,” Sinha said at a press conference at the party’s national headquarters here.

The JPC, which is probing the contentious 2G spectrum allocation, was formed on the opposition’s insistence after the entire winter session of parliament in 2009 was lost to protests demanding a JPC.

Sinha said the BJP members were not allowed to speak, and accused JPC chairman P.C. Chacko of having a “dictatorial attitude”.

“As soon as the meeting began, the chairman said, ‘I have received a letter from Yashwant Sinha and have sent a reply… Let us call the witnesses now’,” Sinha said giving an account of events.

“(BJP member) Ravishankar Prasad then raised his hand, and Chacko said if it is about the list of witnesses, he will not allow any discussion,” Sinha said, adding that their members repeatedly asked if the issue will be taken up later, but the chairman did not allow them to speak at all.

“He behaved in a totally dictatorial manner, reminiscent of the Emergency. We are sorry to say, he did not behave like the chairman of the committee but acted like spokesperson of Congress. So, we walked out of the committee,” he said.

This is the second time when the BJP has walked out of the JPC. Earlier, at a meeting of the committee Aug 22 during parliament’s monsoon session, BJP members walked out from the committee after a member from the Congress accused them of making it a “Kangaroo court”.

Reserve Bank of India Governor D. Subbarao, who was finance secretary at the time of 2G spectrum allocation, deposed before the JPC Tuesday. According to a member from the committee, the JPC chairman said since P. Chidambaram, who was the finance minister at the time, he need not be summoned as his position was same as that of Subbarao.

Apart from the prime minister, the BJP members had also been demanding Chidambaram be summoned.

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