The issue of “JPC-versus PAC” in pursuing the 2G spectrum scam rocked key meetings of the NDA as well as the PAC on Tuesday.
BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi, who heads the PAC, came under attack from Opposition leaders, who found his “over drive” to pursue the probe rather “helping and supporting” to the Congress and the government to poke fun at the Opposition “unity” on the issue.
As Joshi defended the role of PAC on the ground it was “mandated” by the Constitution to probe following the CAG report, NDA convenor and JD (U) leader Sharad Yadav raised objections to Joshi’s statement.
“We are unable to answer TV channels which are asking us why do you want JPC when Joshi says PAC is best to handle,” he said.
Joshi held the PAC had taken up the 2G issue even before the CAG submitted its report and the committee’s work had been going for over three months.
Yadav and other NDA leaders were upset that PAC had summoned former TRAI chairman Pradeep Baijal, who is working for corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, and former telecom secretary Siddharth Behuria, who worked under A Raja, to depose before the panel.
Thought LK Advani, working chairman of the NDA, was silent, other leaders said the PAC had only a one-year tenure and could not summon a minister but a JPC could ask anyone to do so. Rajnath Singh said all views would be incorporated before deciding on the issue.
When the PAC met in the evening, Yashwant Sinha (BJP) was supported by other Opposition MPs when he questioned Joshi’s decision to invite witnesses when, at the last meeting, he was to only get back on the PAC’s role when the demand was for a JPC.
Sinha took up the matter after SP’s Reoti Raman Singh raised the “JPC-versus-PAC” debate. Later the PAC decided not to quiz but “just hear” former TRAI chairman Pradip Baijal and ex-telecom secretary Sidharth Behuria, who came to depose before the panel. While Behura said he had only carried out orders of ex-minister A Raja, Baijal made a power point about his tenure as the chairman of TRAI.