Committee discusses Ministry note to PMO
The recent verdicts of the Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court on the 2G spectrum case would not ‘minimise' the role and relevance of the Joint Parliamentary Committee, according to its Chairman P.C. Chacko.
The JPC was empowered to examine the telecom policy from 1998 to 2009 and advice the future governments on a whole range of issues related to the policy, he told journalists after a sitting of the JPC on Tuesday.
To a question, he said that irrespective of the court verdicts, the JPC would go ahead with its work of examining the role of various Ministries and Ministers in formulation of the policy and its implementation.
Mr. Chacko said the JPC had not reached a stage where it could determine whether there were any lapses in formulation or implementation of the policy either at the ministerial or political level.
He was responding to questions whether the JPC would be guided by the Delhi High Court judgment exonerating the then Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram, of any motive.
The JPC deliberations focussed on the controversial March 25 note sent by the Finance Ministry on the 2G scam to the Prime Minister's Office. The note, released by the PMO in September following an RTI petition, had triggered a political storm within the UPA government as it implied that Mr. Chidambaram, could have insisted on auctioning the 2G spectrum licences.
Though a Delhi court had absolved Mr. Chidambaram of any motive on the 2G issue, some JPC members demanded that he be summoned for explanation.
Mr. Chacko said there had been several letters from members seeking appearance of different Ministers and officials. “We would decide on whether or not the presence of a Minister or official is required only if the material before the JPC is not sufficient,” he said to a question whether Mr. Chidambaram would be called to depose before the committee.
At the last meeting, Secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs R. Gopalan had owned full responsibility for the lapse by the Finance Ministry in not keeping the JPC informed of the note.
At Tuesday's meeting, members sought answers from Mr. Gopalan on issues related to the sequence of events that led to grant of 2G licences in 2008.
Keywords: 2G case