“The only lesson that will be drawn is that JPC members lack commitment and wasted nearly two years, enjoyed TA/DA for 90 days, but did not do their job”

Communist Party of India leader Gurudas Dasgupta has written to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, complaining about the failure of P.C. Chacko, chairman of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the 2G spectrum scam, to convene even a single meeting of the panel after its term was extended on May 10. He requested that Mr. Chacko be asked to convene meetings immediately.

The JPC’s term was extended, after strong protests from its non-Congress members, to ensure that further deliberations would yield a consensual and accurate report.

The Opposition members were up in arms when Mr. Chacko steadfastly refused to allow the key actors in the scam — Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and the prime accused and former Telecom Minister, A. Raja — from appearing as witnesses.

The draft report was produced after Mr. Chacko rejected Mr. Raja’s repeated appeals for permission to appear before the JPC as a witness so as to demonstrate that he alone was not responsible for the scam.

In his letter, Mr. Dasgupta said: “Forty days have passed, no meeting has yet been convened. The Monsoon Session of Parliament is likely to commence in July. Therefore, [the] inter-session period has already been shortened. Moreover, when Parliament is in session, it is difficult to have deliberations.”

Mr. Dasgupta said: “If no report can be produced with or without dissent, the setting up of JPC may be considered infructuous in future. The only lesson that will be drawn is that the members of the JPC lacked commitment and wasted nearly two years, enjoyed TA/DA for nearly 90 days, but actually did not do their job. All of us will be shown in a poor light.”

“The JPC, … considered… an effective appendage of the parliamentary system to inquire on behalf of Parliament into serious cases of irregularities, will lose its relevance and will never be considered effective in future by parliamentarians,” he said.

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