Formal letter will be sent to Chairman after Yashwant Sinha returns home

All BJP members on the Joint Parliamentary Committee that examines the 2G spectrum allocation scam are set to quit the panel. It will meet on Thursday.

On September 18, the party members determined that it would be futile to continue on the committee which, they felt, was not headed anywhere. A formal communication will be sent to Chairman P.C. Chacko, once the former Finance Minister and senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha returns home from his foreign tour.

After the BJP members announced that they had lost faith in the Chairman as he was “partisan,” Mr. Chacko wrote to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, appealing to her to use her good offices with the BJP members and urge them to resume attending JPC proceedings.

However, BJP general secretary and JPC member Dharmendra Pradhan told The Hindu: “As announced earlier, on the basis of our experience, we have come to the conclusion that with a ‘biased’ Chairman, there is no point in our continuing on the panel. Besides, we have not heard from either the Lok Sabha Speaker or anyone else since we stopped participating in the proceedings. Our exit… is a logical consequence of our decision.”

But the BJP members would come out with a report of their own on the basis of the material at their disposal. Constituted in February 2011, the JPC has been mandated to examine the telecom policies followed from 1998 to 2009 and make recommendations on issues related to implementation and irregularities, if any, in the allocation of telecom licences.

In the past few weeks, serious differences have cropped up between members of the UPA and the Opposition over the list of witnesses to be summoned.

The BJP members have been at loggerheads with the Chairman and the Congress members on the question of calling Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram as witnesses.

What with the wrangling, the Committee authorised the Chairman to prepare the list of witnesses and he is still at it.

‘It’s like Emergency’

“It is quite clear that now the JPC is not an instrument for uncovering the truth,” Mr. Sinha had told a news conference. He alleged that Mr. Chacko, who has recently been named one of the Congress spokespersons, was being influenced by the party leadership.

The Committee had become an “instrument” for “putting a cover to conceal and not indulge in honest inquiry,” Mr. Sinha said. Mr. Chacko was behaving like a spokesperson of the Congress. “I can’t think of any committee where a Chairman would behave like this and gag a member in a highly dictatorial manner. This is reminiscent of the Emergency...”

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