Describing former Telecom minister A Raja's arrest as "belated", BJP today asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh why he had been silent on this issue for so long and maintained this development had vindicated its demand for a JPC probe into the 2G spectrum allocation scam.
"The allocation of spectrum at a grossly under stated value and seletion of persons as an act of favouritism to whom it is to be alloted took place in 2007, early 2008. More than three years have elapsed and for over three years this government was in denial," Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said.
He maintained that the government kept defending Raja despite the opposition, media pressure and repeated debates in Parliament. "The Prime Minister maintained even late last year that Raja did nothing wrong, he did what his predecessor did. (Kapil) Sibal maintained a fortnight ago that Raja had caused no loss to the exchequer," Jaitley said.
Alleging that the government was involved in this "cover-up exercise", BJP insisted that Raja's arrest was a "belated action" which had come under pressure from the judicial system, Parliament, the public and media.
"I wish the Prime Minister, instead of living in denial, had acted three years ago so that this huge, monumental loss to the public exchequer had not taken place," Jaitley said.
However, BJP maintained that its stand on JPC would not be diluted. "Our stand on JPC remains because it is on much larger issues. Why was the Telecom portfolio kept only for DMK? Why within DMK it was kept only for A Raja? How and why some policies were framed? And the role of middlemen," Jaitley said.
He claimed that these issues did not relate directly to the "culpability" of A Raja and so a JPC was needed to look into the larger issues. Dubbing Raja's arrest as "too little too late", party spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy demanded that others involved in the 2G spectrum scam should also be brought to book.
"The arrest is too little too late. It is very unfair to say that Raja alone had gulped Rs 1.76 lakh crore. Who are the rest of the people? BJP categorically wants to know that," Rudy said, adding that the arrest was just the beginning of an exercise.
"Please don't give credit to the government for the arrest. Government has to answer many questions before this finally comes to an end," he said. BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman maintained that though a "loot" of Rs 1.76 Lakh crore had taken place in 2G spectrum allocation, the Prime Minister had remained silent.
"Our demand for a JPC probe has been vindicated," she said and held the Congress responsible for the "complete washout" of the Winter session of Parliament. "The sheer arrogance and adamance of the Congress party is responsible for the wasting of the winter session," she said.