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Updated: April 28, 2011 15:28 IST

PAC meets, 2G spectrum scam on agenda

PTI
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PAC Chairman Murli Manohar Joshi on his way to attend the PAC meeting in New Delhi. “The report will be discussed on merit,” he told reporters here before the meeting. File Photo
The Hindu PAC Chairman Murli Manohar Joshi on his way to attend the PAC meeting in New Delhi. “The report will be discussed on merit,” he told reporters here before the meeting. File Photo

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) met here on Thursday with its Chairman Murli Manohar Joshi saying the report on 2G spectrum scam was on agenda and will be discussed on merit.

“The report will be discussed on merit,” Mr. Joshi told reporters here before the meeting.

The attendance at the meeting was almost total with a vote expected on the finalisation of the report.

An all out political war has broken out with the draft PAC report coming down heavily on the PMO, Cabinet Secretariat and faulting the Prime Minister in the 2G scam.

Congress and DMK have hit back demanding Mr. Joshi’s resignation.

Riled by critical comments against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the ruling coalition accused Joshi, a veteran BJP leader, of having “malafide intentions” to destabilise the government after he circulated a draft report of the Committee which criticised the PMO and Cabinet Secretariat for not taking “corrective action“.

With the strength of the two sides delicately balanced in the 21-member committee, the role of SP and BSP, which have a member each on the PAC, will be important.

The PAC has seven representatives from the Congress, four from BJP, two each from AIADMK and DMK, and one each from Shiv Sena, BJD, JD(U), SP, BSP and CPI(M).

Mr. Joshi is keen on pushing the report before the term of the current Committee ends on Saturday. But the ruling coalition members are expected to stall the report by seeking further discussion and calling more witnesses, including former Telecom Minister A. Raja in a bid to prolong the process.

The draft report also attacked the then Finance Minister P. Chidambaram for recommending to the Prime Minister to “treat the matter as closed” instead of taking action against those responsible for loss to the exchequer.

The voluminous report had some unpleasant words for Dr. Singh, who had kept his office at “arm’s length” in 2G spectrum issue which helped Mr. Raja “to execute his unfair, arbitrary and dubious designs“.

The report says the Prime Minister on January three, 2008 wanting to keep the PMO at “arm’s length” seemed to have given an “indirect green signal” to Mr. Raja to go ahead and “execute his unfair, arbitrary and dubious designs”.

The controversial distribution of licences and spectrum was taken by the DMK representative in the Cabinet on January 10, 2008, which the CAG had estimated a presumptive revenue loss of over Rs 1.76 lakh crore.

A large part of the proceedings at the beginning of the meeting were dedicated to discussion on the leakage of the report to the media.

A section of the PAC demanded an investigation into the leakage of the draft report to the media in the meeting.

Some members felt that this was a question of ethics.

A member said the meeting was proceeding in a “very constructive” manner.

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