‘Ministers trying to stall probe into corruption cases'

The United Progressive Alliance government and the Congress are trying to convert the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) into a “captive committee” to be run on their directives, PAC Chairman Murli Manohar Joshi said here on Tuesday.

“It is an insult to the parliamentary system of democracy and a big impediment to probe into issues related to corruption,” he told journalists.

Bipartisan panel

While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that public opinion on corruption had changed and that people wanted quick action, his Ministers tried to stall the probe into corruption cases. Union Ministers Kapil Sibal, P. Chidambaram, V. Narayanasamy and Pawan Kumar Bansal met in the Congress Parliamentary Party office and sent a letter with their “directives” to their party MPs on the committee. “The PAC is a bipartisan panel and is above party lines; directives should not be given to the panel,” Dr. Joshi said.

Dr. Joshi said the PAC was formed to track the money trail in the 2G spectrum allocation scam, and it would unravel its source and beneficiaries. “It is the taxpayers' money, and the people want to know where their money is going. If expenditure [by departments] was not curbed, the government would become autocratic.”

“BSP, SP must clarify”

Criticising the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party for bailing out the government when the PAC report was tabled, Dr. Joshi said that despite differences, the Congress joined hands with these parties to scuttle the probe. The BSP and the SP were against each other in Uttar Pradesh, but sank their differences outside the State. “The BSP and the SP should spell out their stand on corruption — whether they want a probe or they want to create hurdles. The people also want to know which party supported corruption and which one was opposed to it.”

Probe “very sensitive”

He said the probe into the 2G spectrum scam was “very sensitive.” In his report, he had pointed to the possibility of money being transferred for terror acts. Doubts were raised about the antecedents of some companies and people.

Separate law for CBI

Dr. Joshi felt that the CBI should be governed by a separate law; it should report to Parliament every six months on the status of the cases it handled.

He criticised the Mayawati government for the violence in Greater Noida. Quoting from the Union Commerce Ministry's report on special economic zones, he argued that arable land should not be acquired for industrialisation. This trend enabled industrialists to make money at the cost of farmers