Evidence collection over and draft report being readied, says P.C. Chacko

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has contended that it is for the members of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) and its Chairman to take a call on what evidence should be sought and which individuals should be asked to appear before the panel, even as its chief P.C. Chacko made it known that a draft report is being finalised.

In response to demands by some JPC members, Mr. Chacko had said the stage of collecting evidence is over and a draft report would be finalised in the next few days.

Sinha’s letter

Dr. Singh’s comments came in response to a letter written to him by the former Finance Minister and senior BJP leader, Yashwant Sinha, asking him to come before the committee and depose on matters related to 2G telecom licences.

“You are aware that all pertinent records and documents available with the government have already been placed at the disposal of the JPC. I have said from the beginning that neither the government nor I have anything to hide in this matter. The decision as to what evidence should be sought and which individuals should be asked to appear before the JPC is a matter that needs to be decided internally by the JPC and its Chairman,” an excerpt from the letter released by the PMO said.

Mr. Sinha said in his letter that it was necessary for the Prime Minister to appear before the committee to “clear your name” following allegations levelled against him. He said the recent communication of the former Telecom Minister, A. Raja, in which the DMK leader had claimed that all decisions he took were with the consent of the Prime Minister and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram. Any hesitation on the part of Dr. Singh to appear before the JPC would prove that he had “something to hide,” Mr. Sinha said.

Offer to PAC

The BJP leader pointed out that when the Public Accounts Committee was examining the CAG report on the 2G scam, Dr. Singh had publicly offered to appear before it to enable it reach the “right conclusions.”

He also complained to Dr. Singh that Mr. Chacko was subverting the very objective of the committee to get to the bottom of the truth on issuance of 2G licences. Mr. Sinha’s case is that there is no rationale on the part of Mr. Chacko to sit on the representation made by Mr. Raja expressing his wish to appear before the JPC.

The BJP leader had said separately that delay on the part of Mr. Chacko in taking a call on Mr. Raja’s request is a “serious omission.”

Reiterates demand

Chennai Special

Correspondent writes:

In Chennai, Mr. Sinha on Wednesday stuck to his stand of demanding that Dr. Singh appear before the JPC.

Responding to the Prime Minister’s remarks on his demand, he said: “If the Prime Minister’s conscience is clear on the 2G issue, he should offer to appear before the JPC.”

Mr. Sinha was addressing journalists ahead of a meeting hosted by the BJP to rally support for the Tamils’ cause in Sri Lanka.

He also wanted the Prime Minister to instruct his present and previous Finance Ministers to appear before the JPC because of the serious nature of the charges raised by Mr. Raja.

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