The Congress and DMK members clashed with the BJP and other members of the public accounts committee (PAC) of Parliament over its continuing the probe into the 2G spectrum scam and forced the committee to cancel three important depositions on Friday and Saturday.
The Congress and DMK members questioned the need for the PAC to continue its examination of the matter as a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) had already been constituted for the purpose.
While attorney general G Vahanvati was supposed to depose on Friday, cabinet secretary KM Chandrashekhar and principal secretary in the prime minister’s office TKA Nair were to face questions on Saturday.
Vahanvati was to be questioned on the opinion he had given to the department of telecom on Swan Telecom without routing it through the law ministry.
Friday’s meeting began on a stormy note when Congress members KS Rao, Navin Jindal, Arun Kumar Vundavalli and Saifuddin Soz and DMK's Tiruchi Siva reportedly questioned the relevance, functioning and ambit of the probe by the panel.
The Congress claimed that its members had raised “legitimate issues” of jurisdiction. “We cried from rooftops that there will inevitably be a clash of jurisdiction, multiplicity and overlap, but we were accused of obduracy,” said Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi.
There were also objections to the panel calling “all kinds” of witnesses when the case was sub-judice and the JPC would be looking into the 2G spectrum allocation policy.
Sources said Joshi rebutted each objection, pointing out that nothing was said when the PAC had decided to call Vahanvati, Nair or Chandrashekhar.
There was a slanging match between the Congress-DMK members and Joshi and others that could be heard from outside the room in Parliament House. CBI director AP Singh and law secretary DD Meena, who were to be questioned in the morning, kept waiting.
Finally, Singh and Vahanvati left the venue without appearing before the PAC. After the vote was taken on calling witnesses, Meena went in for about 15 minutes and faced only two questions.