The arrest of former telecom minister A Raja on Wednesday added fervour to the Opposition’s demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the 2G spectrum and other scams.
“The allocation of spectrum at a grossly underrated value and selection of persons as an act of favouritism took place more than three years ago. For three years, the government was in denial. The Prime Minister maintained even late last year that Raja had done nothing wrong,” said BJP leader Arun Jaitley. “...Today whatever action has happened is because of the judiciary, the Opposition, the press and people. My question to the PM is this: had you acted three years back, the nation would have been spared such a loss.”
Jaitley added that the arrest only strengthened the Opposition demand for a JPC: “Our JPC demand stands, as the JPC is not just about Raja but other issues too. How did Raja get the telecom portfolio in the first place? How was the policy framed and executed? And these subjects do not necessarily relate to Raja’s culpability.”
BJP president Nitin Gadkari said this state of affairs would not have come if Raja had been checked timely.
AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa dismissed the arrest as “pure theatrics”. Training her guns on the Congress, she said, “The Congress is also possibly using the arrest as a pressure tactic to get a better deal from the DMK during seat-sharing talks for the forthcoming Tamil Nadu assembly elections.”
“This arrest only raises more questions than it answers... The AIADMK’s demand for a JPC stands, more so because the Government of India has contradicted itself several times over,” Jayalalithaa said.
The Left too emphasised that the arrest strengthened the JPC demand, though it hinted at the need for a “historical look” at telecom policy.
“There is a malaise behind this whole scam that needs to be investigated not only from the point of view of punishing the guilty but also to plug the loopholes in the system that was manipulated to facilitate such a massive fraud,” said CPM leader Sitaram Yechury.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi, however, said the arrest proved that the law was taking its course independently and objectively and denied that this could hit the government’s credibility.
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar said in Delhi that there was no way out except a JPC probe into corruption, and that he could not understand why the government was not accepting it.
(With inputs from Chennai)