Following up on his public statement last week at the Congress plenary, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday wrote to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that he was willing to appear before the panel on the 2G scam. Panel chairman Murli Manohar Joshi said it will take an "an appropriate decision at an appropriate time" on the offer.
In his letter, the PM said he was willing to appear before the panel should it choose to seek clarifications from him "though I believe there is no precedent of the Prime Minister appearing before a PAC".
After the PAC meeting on Monday, Joshi told reporters that in his letter the PM has said "whatever information the PAC wanted in connection with the examination of the 2G issue had been sent to the panel".
Sources said the PM's offer has divided the 22-member committee. PTI reported that UPA members insisted at the meeting that it accept the PM's offer. But non-UPA members like BJP's Yashwant Sinha reportedly cited rules that do not permit the PM's appearance.
Joshi, however, said, "We will study the rules and procedures and then take an appropriate decision at appropriate time... We will take a decision on the basis of the collective wisdom of the committee."
If the PAC accepts the offer, it will be the first time a PM will appear before the panel. Union Minister C Subramaniam had come before the PAC about four decades back but rules were later amended to seek the Speaker's permission in such cases.
Meanwhile the Speaker has called an all-party meet on December 30 to break the parliamentary logjam caused by the Opposition's demand for a JPC probe.
For five hours on Monday, CAG Vinod Rai briefed PAC members on aspects of the spectrum controversy, including how the figure of Rs1.76 lakh crore as "presumptive loss" was arrived at.
He told members the figure was based on best practices applied internationally and involved three models according to which the presumptive losses were estimated to be from Rs57666 crore to Rs1.76 lakh crore. The panel could debate on whether to take the lowest or the highest amount into account.