The Joint Parliamentary Committee probing the 2G spectrum allocation scam was virtually split along party lines on Tuesday with some opposition members demanding that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh be called as a witness.
BJP leader Yashwant Sinha was particularly vocal on calling key witnesses including Prime Minister to the committee. He also demanded PM’s principal secretary Pulok Chatterjee and former finance secretary Ashok Chawla (currently chairman of Competition Commission of India) be called. Both Sinha and his party colleague Jaswant Singh emphasised that they had no problems if they are called as witnesses before the probe panel.
CPI’s Gurudas Dasgupta gave to Chacko a list of 13 witnesses, including ex-telecom ministers A Raja and Dayanidhi Maran.
Heated exchanges between the UPA and opposition leaders started when Congress MP JP Agarwal remarked that some members are trying to fulfil their political agenda. Congress leader Manish Tewari argued that he had already given a list of 101-114 witnesses and if the hearings continued then it would be impossible to meet the panel’s December deadline.
Arguing in favour of calling the PM, the opposition leaders pointed out that then prime minister PV Narsimha Rao had agreed to come before the JPC probing the stock market scam. Then finance minister Manmohan Singh had appeared before the panel, it was also pointed out. Dasgupta demanded that witnesses be called till October.
The JPC has decided to meet every Tuesday. It has scheduled the next meeting on June 26.