The tussle between the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probing the telecom scam intensified on Thursday.
Maintaining that the two committees should not hold a parallel probe into the same issue, JPC chairman PC Chacko will take up the matter with the Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar on Friday.
After the JPC’s first meeting, Chacko said the PAC — which is looking into the CAG report on the telecom scam — was not mandated to look into policy issues relating to allocation of spectrum but only into the waste of public money.
PAC chairman Murli Manohar Joshi, however, asserted he will continue to fulfil his constitutionally-empowered duty of probing all matters of the 2G scam.
The PAC is a permanent parliamentary body vested with wide ranging responsibilities, as against the JPC, which was set up for a specific purpose for a limited time frame, he said.
Asked if the PAC’s functioning on the scam amounted to “overlapping responsibilities”, Joshi said the issue was also being looked into by the Supreme Court, CBI and the Enforcement Directorate. “Such things are always there”, he said.
Chacko, on his, part rejected the claim following the precedent where the parliamentary committee on civil aviation and the committee on public undertakings had looked into the Air India-Indian Airlines merger and given similar reports.
Both leaders were addressing the media from the same venue — Parliament House annexe — after separate meetings of their panels.
Chacko will flag two other issues with the the Lok Sabha speaker. The first relates to his missive — in accordance with rules — whether the 30-member JPC have any conflict of interest with the telecom issue.
Only half a dozen responded, saying there was no conflict of interest. These letters are now being sent to the speaker.
The second reference will be whether the presence of seven to eight former ministers a involved in formulating the telecom policy between 1998-2008 constituted conflicted with the of interest in the JPC.
While the JPC will next meet post-assembly polls on May 18 and frequently thereafter, Joshi's panel intends to submit its report before its term ends next month.