Telecom minister Kapil Sibal on Tuesday clarified his controversial “zero loss” remarks saying he had never stated that auction of 2G spectrum would not have fetched a price.
“I never said if spectrum were auctioned it would fetch no price...the loss would be zero,” Sibal said in the Rajya Sabha, moving a motion for setting up a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) to probe the 2G spectrum scam.
The House later approved the setting up of the 30-member JPC, already approved by the Lok Sabha. It was preceded by a four-hour debate with lively exchanges between Sibal and BJP leader Arun Jaitley.
There will be 10 members from the Rajya Sabha in the JPC. These are: PJ Kurien, Jayanthi Natarajan and Praveen Rashtrapal (all Congress), Sitaram Yechury (CPM), T Siva (DMK), SS Ahluwalia and Ravi Shankar Prasad (both BJP), YP Trivedi (NCP), Satish Chandra Mishra (BSP) and Ramchandra Prasad Singh (JDU).
Sibal, who was not allowed to complete his speech in the Lok Sabha, said the telecom industry was the fastest developing in the world.
Seeking to turn the tables on BJP, he said, “Just before the results of Lok Sabha elections were announced on May 16, 2004, three licences were given to a particular entity in three circles. All that will be discussed in the JPC.”
Jaitley countered Sibal saying the telecom sector is a grim reminder of how a success story can be hijacked for private gains.“We, as a responsible parliamentary institution, must not allow this to degenerate into UPA Vs NDA battle. It is my regret that to dilute the taint of 2007-08, some people tried to bring a moral equivalence to what happened in 2003.”
He said the telecom minister in the NDA government (Arun Shourie) should have been complimented by the present regime for the policies which laid the foundation for the spread of tele-density.