In a departure from his party, Murli Manohar Joshi pushed for a probe by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) into the 2G spectrum scam. The BJP leader said the PAC is better equipped to deal with the investigation than a JPC, which his party has been demanding.
Parliament has been stalled for the 14th consecutive day over the BJP-led opposition’s demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe.
Joshi, chairman of the PAC of Parliament, attributed the overwhelming demand for a JPC to “a large perception among the members that JPC can deal with the scam better”.
“For a JPC, the terms of reference are given by the government and chairman can be of any party, where as the PAC is always chaired by the opposition and can look into every aspect. But JPC, it seems, enjoys a popular perception of a larger section of the parties and members,” Joshi, said at a conference on effective legislatures organised by PRS Legislative Research.
“But do not know why the government is not agreeing to constitute one,” Joshi added in line with his party position. Joshi, who heads the committee that scrutinises the expenditure authorised by Parliament, later said that even before the CAG report, “the committee took cognizance of the startling issue”.
The PAC also examines working of ministries based on audit findings of CAG.
In its report submitted to Parliament last month, CAG pointed out a loss of R 1.76 lakh crore to the exchequer due to the 2G spectrum scam.
“We had four-five meetings, details of which I cannot reveal.” Pointing out the benefits of PAC, Joshi said, the panel could summon the minister involved, with the approval of the Speaker. He did not reveal if PAC was mulling the same here.
Former union minister and Rajya Sabha member Mani Shankar Aiyar, who was also present at the occasion, suggested Joshi and his committee work towards revelation of substantive facts. “Instead of demanding a JPC without a proper reason, let the Committee provide reasons enough for a JPC to be formed (which will probe the scam further)”.
“The focus should be to get to the bottom of the issue. Either it be PAC, JPC or some ABCD,” RS member Rajeev Chandrasekhar said. Take your pick