CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta has written to the Chairman of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on 2G, P.C. Chacko, asking him to seriously consider the former Telecom Minister, A. Raja’s request to be allowed to appear before the committee, while additionally calling Attorney-General Ghoolam Vahanvati for a second round of questioning.
Mr. Raja wrote to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar on Saturday, seeking that he be allowed to provide the committee with his interpretation of events that led to the 2G spectrum scam.
“It seems in the letter he [Mr. Raja] has specifically invoked the testimony of senior government officers as well as the learned Attorney-General in the JPC and contended that the same appeared to be contrary to the facts of the case and ‘intended to be an exercise in blame shifting’,” Mr. Dasgupta wrote. “Further, he has cautioned that the JPC should not be misguided by ‘false and incomplete evidence’.” Mr. Raja would be best placed to explain the “policy and rationale of the government behind the issue of UAS licences and grant of spectrum as well as sequence of events and role of institutions,” wrote Mr. Dasgupta, quoting Mr. Raja’s letter.
Reminding Mr. Chacko that Mr. Raja’s name was a part of list of witnesses that he had submitted to the JPC, Mr. Dasgupta cautioned that “now with this open and voluntary offer by Mr. Raja, to appear before the JPC – that too when he was the Minister when the scam was perpetrated – not calling him would caste a serious shadow of doubt on the intention of the JPC and the credibility of the report. Further, he has specifically raised [as above] questions about the testimony of those – who will be key to the report that JPC hopes to finalise.”
Mr. Dasgupta emphasised that “it is important that the ‘individuals’ and their roles should be defined, especially if all these issues are within the mandate of the JPC.”
Highlighting two parts of Mr. Vahanvati’s deposition before the JPC, Mr. Dasgupta wrote that while replying to his question, the former told the JPC that he did not pay attention to the first paragraph of the press note that was sent to him for his approval, which was an “extremely crucial omission.” Secondly, Mr. Vahanvati noted that he was not aware of the controversy that existed in the public domain with regard to distribution of spectrum. Nor did he read the file on which he wrote his comments approving the press release.
Given these submissions, Mr. Dasgupta pointed out that “now that his testimony itself is being questioned by Mr. Raja, it is my request that Mr. Raja be called as a witness and Mr. Vahanvati should be asked to clarify – or else we will have failed in our duty to examine the two most important witnesses and senor most functionaries of the government – and who were the last two signatories on the file on January 7, 2008 after which the scam was perpetrated on January 10, 2008.” He concluded, “Without these two witnesses, the JPC would have failed in the responsibility cast upon them by Parliament and the citizens of India.”