The Bharatiya Janata Party has raised the political stakes related to the 2G spectrum scandal now that the government has tried, through an affidavit in court, to defend the method of spectrum allocation.
It is not Union Telecom Minister A. Raja alone who must answer charges of corruption, BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said here on Friday. The Prime Minister must explain to the country why he gave the go-ahead for “selling” spectrum in 2008 at prices determined in 2001.
The BJP also tried to protect itself from the charge that it was the National Democratic Alliance government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee that had laid down the spectrum policy of allotment. In 2003, the NDA decided that in future spectrum allocation should be done through auction, Mr. Javadekar claimed, ostensibly responding to statements often made by Mr. Raja that he had implemented the policy finalised by the NDA.
The relevant questions now were: Had the Prime Minister given sanction to allotment without auction? Had the Telecom Regulatory Authority concurred with this decision? If allotment without auction was correct, then why was 3G spectrum allocated through auction?
The BJP, apparently, will continue to demand that Mr. Raja resign from the Cabinet or be sacked. However, there is a view in the party that the report of the Comptroller and Auditor-General on this matter had yet to be tabled in Parliament and may be the party has taken up the issue in a hurry, instead of striking at the correct time. Moreover, the CAG report is to be handed over to the Public Accounts Committee chaired by BJP senior leader Murli Manohar Joshi. Since the PAC is a prestigious parliamentary committee, it is no less than a joint parliamentary committee demanded by the Opposition party. However, those of this view are in a minority in the BJP.