The joint parliamentary committee examining India's telecom pricing policy from 1998 to 2008 Wednesday denied it would summon ailing former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as witness in its probe into the alleged scam relating to the allotment of 2G spectrum licences.
“It is clarified that no decision has been taken yet on the list of witnesses to be summoned by the JPC. The question of summoning Atal Bihari Vajpayee as a witness before the committee was not even raised during the (May 30) sitting of the panel,” an official statement said.
The denial comes as a section of the media had reported that the JPC had decided to summon Vajpayee as a witness.
“It is categorically stated that the report appearing in certain section of the press regarding the decision of the JPC to summon Atal Bihari Vajpayee is factually incorrect and is a mere figment of imagination,” the statement said.
It said that the panel was yet to finalise the list of witnesses to be quizzed in its investigation into India's telecom policy from 1998 to 2008 that covers the period during which Vajpayee was heading the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.
The JPC was formed following persistent demands by the opposition after allegations surfaced of irregularities in the allocation of licences for second generation mobile telephony. Jailed former communication minister A. Raja is alleged to have sold the scarce spectrum licences to private players at throwaway prices than market rates causing huge financial losses to the nation.
The JPC will start calling witnesses before it from June 29. “Suggestions are being received from (panel members) regarding persons to be summoned as witnesses. The list of witnesses will be finalized only after suggestions have been received from the members,” the statement said.
In the next meeting June 7, the JPC will be briefed by the representatives of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The next day, officials of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and the Departments of Revenue and Economic Affairs, the Enforcement Directorate, Central Board of Direct Taxes will be called for a sitting with the panel.
The panel in its May 30 sitting had a meeting with Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Vinod Rai who was asked as how he had calculated the notional Rs.1.76 lakh crore loss in the allotment of 2G spectrum.