Communist Party of India (Marxist) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury on Sunday reiterated that the Left parties, along with like-minded Opposition parties, would insist on a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the 2G spectrum scam.

Mr. Yechury said the winter session of Parliament concluded without taking up any business because the government rejected the JPC demand. The Opposition would persist with the demand in the budget session too and it was the responsibility of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance to take steps for smooth conduct of business.

“It all depends on the way the government deals with the issue,” he said, addressing the party's extended State committee meeting here. Though the government cited the ongoing probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation and an inquiry by the Public Accounts Committee for refusing to concede the demand, the Opposition was clear that the parliamentary committee probe alone would help ascertain the factors involved in the manipulation of the system and suggest measures to avoid recurrence of such lapses.

The CPI (M) leader dismissed the government's claims that the JPC probe would not serve any purpose as it would not be empowered to punish the guilty. In the Harshad Mehta scam it helped in establishing the mechanism to govern the stock markets and it was its recommendation that helped create a regulatory authority for the insurance sector.

Mr. Yechury expressed concern over the latest hike in the price of petrol, the fifth time in the past few months. The hike was set to impact inflation which would, in turn, result in escalation of the prices of essential commodities. He refuted charges that the CPI (M) which backed the United Front Government (1996-98) supported deregulation of oil prices, recalling that the party was firm on significant changes in the tax structure if deregulation was mandatory.

He cautioned the party cadre and leaders to be vigilant against the efforts to isolate and marginalise the Left parties, the CPI (M) in particular, which was in the forefront in resisting the exploitation of poorer sections and exposing the irregularities committed by the ruling classes.

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