The chairman of the Joint Parliamentary Committee probing the 2G scam, P.C. Chacko on Tuesday hit out at Bharatiya Janata Party leader Yashwant Sinha for writing to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking him to appear before the panel examining the 2G spectrum scam, dubbing it as a “political stunt” and against established “norms””
“How can a member of the JPC write a letter to the Prime Minister? It is for the committee to take a decision. It is only a political stunt and against norms of Parliamentary procedure,” Mr. Chacko said responding to Mr. Sinha’s letter to Dr. Singh asking him to appear before the panel to clear his name.
He said Mr. Sinha’s letter has “no relevance” as decisions, including calling a minister, have to be taken by the committee and “not individuals.”
When pointed that Mr. Sinha has asked the Prime Minister to volunteer himself as a witness before JPC, Mr. Chacko said, “even if the Prime Minister wants he cannot appear before the JPC.
That’s the norm which applies to all of us.”
The JPC chief said Mr. Sinha cannot cite the example of the Prime Minister’s willingness to appear before Public Accounts Committee when it was examining the CAG report on 2G scam.
“Despite the Prime Minister’s willingness to appear before PAC, why was he not called? Sinhaji should ask this question to the PAC Chairman (Murli Manohar Joshi),” he said.
Mr. Chacko contended that even if the JPC wants, it cannot call a minister as a witness till a unanimous resolution was passed. “The resolution will then have to be sent to the (Lok Sabha) Speaker who will take a decision.”
He said after completing deposition by witnesses, the committee members had authorised him to write the draft report. “Once the report is ready, we will meet to discuss it,” he said.
Mr. Chacko said though Mr. Sinha as a minister in NDA regime was involved in taking decisions on 2G spectrum licences, he did not oppose his inclusion in JPC as his wisdom would help the panel.
“But by sending letter to the Prime Minister, he (Sinha) wants to politicise the issue...you may say anything outside as a member of a political party, but as a committee member you have to follow the procedures,” he said.
Citing former Telecom Minister A Raja’s communication to the JPC on 2G scam, Mr. Sinha had on Monday written to the Prime Minister asking him to appear before the committee to “clear” his name following allegations levelled against him.
In his letter, Mr. Sinha said any hesitation on the part of Dr. Singh to appear before the JPC will prove that he has “something to hide”.
The BJP leader claimed that in his communications to the JPC, Mr. Raja has levelled “serious allegations” against the Prime Minister and Finance Minister P Chidambaram.
“I think it is in your own personal interest to appear before the JPC and clear your name. You may also suggest the Finance Minister to make a similar offer,” he wrote.
Mr. Sinha asked the Prime Minister to request Mr. Chacko to call Mr. Raja as a witness before the committee.