As the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) prepares to go into the 2G issue, its chief P C Chacko has made it clear that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would be called before the panel only if it is "absolutely necessary" and there is a "consensus" among members.
He pointed out that none of the four earlier JPCs have called any Prime Minister and that such a step should be taken only if it is required for the "fair conclusion" of the committee's work.
"Calling the Prime Minister before JPC is the last step and not the first step. Such a step can be taken only when it is absolutely necessary and if there is consensus among the members," Chacko said.
When referred to Singh's offer of appearing before any panel, the JPC Chairman said the matter, if raised by any member, will be deliberated upon by the committee and a decision reached by consensus.
Chacko, who is a Congress MP from Kerala's Thrissur district, said the 30 member JPC, which will hold its first meeting on March 24, will examine the telecom policy in place from 1998 to 2008, its implementation, pricing of spectrum and issuance of licences.
The aim is to ascertain if there were any problems in the system, its implementation and recommend actions accordingly.
In this connection, the committee intends to seek all relevant documents from the ministries concerned and communications between various departments.
The committee will be calling secretaries and other top officials concerned, of the telecom and other relevant ministries. On the other hand, ministers, present or former, would be called only if necessary.
The formation of the JPC brought down the curtains on a three month deadlock in both the Houses, between the government and the opposition, which latched on to a CAG report on alleged irregularities in 2G spectrum allocations and pegged the presumptive loss to the national exchequer at Rs 1.76 lakh crore.