Report is now dead, says Congress
A war of words broke out at the first meeting of the newly constituted Public Accounts Committee (PAC) here on Tuesday. While some members were vociferous in their view that the committee's contentious draft report on the 2G spectrum allocation scam was “dead” as it was “returned” and “rejected” by the Lok Sabha Speaker for lack of proper procedure in its adoption, others felt the new committee could again take it up for consideration.
At the end of a couple of hours of heated exchanges, committee chairman Murli Manohar Joshi said he would consult “legal and constitutional experts” as well as those familiar with parliamentary procedures and look at the past precedence, if any, to arrive at a conclusion on the “status of the report.” It was also pointed out that the “unfinished” work of the previous committee was routinely carried forward by the new committee, and this was the standard practice.
At the outset, Dr. Joshi placed before the committee Speaker Meira Kumar's letter, informing him of her decision to return the report he submitted two months earlier. She had noted that proper procedure for adopting the report was not followed and it was an “unfinished work.”
At that time, 11 of the 21 members of the committee had given it in writing to the Speaker that the chairman tried to rush through the report and they, the majority, opposed and “rejected” it. Dr. Joshi, nevertheless, submitted the report to the Speaker.
At Tuesday's meeting, Congress members Jayanti Natarajan, Sanjay Nirupam, K.S. Rao and Girija Vyas said the report was now dead and could not be taken up afresh. Furthermore, the issue was before the Joint Parliamentary Committee, they noted. Some others, mostly from the BJP, said that as the Speaker had faulted the adoption procedure, the report could be properly adopted by the new committee submitted to her again.
Interestingly, DMK MP Adhi Sankar felt the report could be taken up again, but A. Raja and some other key players in the case were not called as witnesses by the last committee. This was a major flaw that must be rectified.
It was reported that the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party MPs, who earlier joined hands with the Congress, distanced themselves from the party this time. But they were not in tune with the BJP either.
The DMK and the BSP wanted the report circulated, but the Congress opposed it.
The PAC's last meeting on April 28 witnessed chaotic scenes, with members accusing each other of violating the procedures and indulging in politics instead of working to arrive at the truth.