Public Accounts Committee Chairman Murli Manohar Joshi on Thursday said no one was pressuring him not to summon media celebrities, who were key players in the Niira Radia tapes related to the 2G spectrum allocation and specifically connected to allocation of the Communications Cabinet portfolio in 2009.
Dr. Joshi said the PAC, which is looking into the Comptroller and Auditor General's report on the 2G affair, was a non-partisan body. No one in his BJP or outside had tried to exert pressure on him and no one could, he asserted, in response to questions here whether there was pressure on him not to call some celebrities.
The reference was to certain personalities whose conversations with lobbyist Niira Radia — working for some corporate giants with interests in telecom — were tapped and leaked to the media, creating an impression that some of them were actively working to instal A. Raja as Communications Minister in the Cabinet in 2009. (He resigned as Minister in the wake of the 2G scam.)
Paucity of rooms
Interacting with journalists, Dr. Joshi said the delay in holding the next PAC meeting on the 2G affair was due to paucity of rooms in the Parliament House and Annexe. For, a number of standing committee meetings were taking place simultaneously to look at the demands for grants to individual Ministries.
Dr. Joshi said “all members of the PAC' were happy with its interaction with editors Vinod Mehta of Outlook and Manu Joseph of Open magazine and correspondent J. Gopikrishna of The Pioneer in connection with the subject. He was asked whether it was true the committee had not found those interactions useful. Finally, the PAC would take a decision on who it should summon.
No letter from Chacko
Dr. Joshi said he had not received any letter from Joint Parliamentary Committee Chairman P.C. Chacko on the issue of jurisdiction. “The JPC is looking at the [2G] issue, the Supreme Court is in the picture, the Central Bureau of Investigation was investigating the same subject and the PAC was seized of the matter as was the CAG earlier. Naturally there will be some overlaps.” The PAC had started working on the 2G spectrum affair in January last year well before the CAG report was placed in Parliament. In short, his mandate was not restricted to studying CAG reports. “I try to ensure that the tax you pay is used wisely. The PAC would do its constitutional duty.”
Keywords: 2G spectrum scam