The Congress on Thursday attacked Public Accounts Committee (PAC) head Murli Manohar Joshi for trying to "pre-empt objections to his report" on the 2G spectrum allocation and said his actions were "unfortunate and destroyed public trust" in the panel.
"It is an extremely unfortunate action by Joshi to press for the approval of a report which did not find acceptance of the majority of the members," Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari told reporters.
"Instead, Joshi should have referred the 2G spectrum issue to the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC)," he suggested.
Tewari was referring to the draft report of the PAC prepared by Joshi on Wednesday, which had criticised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his office for inefficient handling of the 2G spectrum issue besides heavily indicting former communications minister A Raja, who is now in jail.
At the meeting of the PAC on Thursday, 11 members belonging to the Congress, DMK and the Samjawadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) gave a note objecting to the draft prepared by Joshi, who is also a top BJP leader. The PAC has 22 members.
As Joshi walked out of the meeting in the afternoon, the anti-Joshi members elected senior Congress leader Saifuddin Soz to preside over the proceedings.
Tewari recalled that BJP had disrupted the winter session of parliament demanding the formation of a JPC on the 2G spectrum allocation - which according to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had caused a notional loss of Rs 1.72 lakh crore to the public exchequer.
"And now that the JPC has been constituted, it would have been in the fitness of things if Joshi had referred the issue to the JPC," he said, adding instead he "tried to up the ante on the issue" and push a draft which did not have approval of the PAC.
Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal also criticised Joshi and alleged that he tried a "cloak and dagger exercise". "At last, Joshi has become doshi (culprit)," Sibal told reporters.
Sibal alleged that Joshi "by his partisan acts, destroyed the confidence and trust of the people in a premier parliamentary institution" like the PAC.