Says JPC should resubmit it after including his written statement
The former Communications Minister, A. Raja, has protested to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar the non-inclusion of his written statement in the final report submitted to her by the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the 2G spectrum allocation issue on October 29.
In his November 6 letter to Ms. Kumar, Mr. Raja said: “I would urge you to return the report to the [JPC] chairman and direct him to resubmit it after including my written statement.”
However, Chairman P.C. Chacko of the Congress said there were no precedents or parliamentary rules and procedures that allowed the Speaker to return the report and seek its re-submission. The report, approved by a majority of the JPC members, had been prepared meticulously, following all rules and procedures of Parliament. But if Mr. Raja or any other member had grievances about the report, he could very well give notice and seek discussion on it after it was tabled in Parliament. It was the decision of the majority not to call Mr. Raja for deposition or allow his written statement to be made part of the final report, Mr. Chacko told The Hindu on the phone.
But Mr. Raja, in his letter to Ms. Kumar, claimed that the report was a “half-baked and half-hearted effort that takes the matter no further and is indeed a disservice to Parliament.” He recalled that in his February 22, 2013, letter to the Speaker he had said that as Communications Minister when spectrum was allocated, he was best placed to explain the policy and the government’s rationale behind issuing Unified Access Services (UAS) licences and the grant of spectrum, as well as the sequence of events and roles of various individuals and institutions.
But “unfortunately, despite my several requests — and the requests of several members of the JPC — the Chairman refused to permit me to depose before the Committee. I thereafter submitted a detailed written statement, in which I specifically expressed that ‘I trust that it will be a part of the report to be given’. My trust could not have been breached in a worse manner. Indeed, the final report of the JPC does not even mention my written statement. Thus, the JPC that was to bring out the truth has chosen to hide behind falsehoods.”
The DMK MP accused Mr. Chacko of playing a “partisan and political role” and of ensuring “a report that was more political than parliamentarian in character.”
Mr. Raja claimed that his written statement was repeatedly referred to and relied upon in the Minute of Dissent (MoD) submitted by BJP MPs. Still Mr. Chacko chose to exclude his written statement. “I now understand that the Chairman… made his intentions clear when he refused to let me depose before the Committee.”
Mr. Raja added: “I believe it can be safely said that the credibility of the JPC has touched new depths when the Chairman chose to exclude my written statement from the report. It is nothing but an act of cowardice, intended solely to prevent the truth from being known.”
The CPI’s Gurudas Dasgupta supported Mr. Raja’s letter to the Speaker, stating that though the DMK MP was an accused in the spectrum scam, his opinions and views must have been part of the JPC report. The CPI MP told The Hindu that he too would write to Ms. Kumar about the “inadequacies” in the report.
Meanwhile, informed sources said, the second volume of the JPC report, consisting of annexures that included details of minutes of every meeting of the Committee, has been kept in the Parliament library for perusal by elected members.