PM seeks to blame Raja for 2G mess
Declaring that government will do everything to clean up the "public life", Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said no wrong-doer will go unpunished in scams as he sought to blame former Telecom Minister A Raja for the controversial 2G spectrum allocation.delhi Updated: Feb 24, 2011 22:50 IST
Declaring that government will do everything to clean up the "public life", Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said no wrong-doer will go unpunished in scams as he sought to blame former Telecom Minister A Raja for the controversial 2G spectrum allocation.
Sharing concerns of all the sections in Parliament over scams, he referred to formation of JPC into 2G scam and the probe being undertaken by the CBI in various corruption cases and said his government would "fully cooperate" with all the agencies "so that the truth comes out".
"I will be the last person to deny that some unfortunate developments have taken place in the area of telecom, in the area of Commonwealth Games. Those concerns are being addressed.
"As and when we get credible, actionable evidence, action has been taken. Chief Ministers have resigned, Ministers have resigned. The CBI has been on the trail of the wrong-doers. I assure the House that there is nothing that we will not do in order to clean our public life," Singh said winding up the debate on Motion of Thanks to the President's Address in the Lok Sabha.
While strongly defending the telecom policy, the Prime Minister appeared to blame Raja in its implementation when he said that the policy of licencing had the support of telecom regulator TRAI and the ministry and decided to pursue the path followed until 2007.
"Then subsequently, it turned out that while the policy was sound, the way it was implemented gave rise to problems. Those problems will now be looked into by the JPC, they are being looked into by the PAC and if there are any criminal aspects, they are looked into by CBI," he said.
Speaking on the same issue, he told the Rajya Sabha later that he was "categorically" assured by Raja that the policy of first-come first-served was being implemented appropriately. "Subsequent developments suggest that this was not the case."
Singh said the "public impatience" over action against the guilty was understandable but the government must follow the due process of law.
"We are making every effort. No one should have any doubt. Those found guilty will surely be dealt with under law," he asserted.
In the Lok Sabha, Singh said, "people talk of scams and if there is a scam, it must be dealt with. The law of the land must punish the wrong-doers."
At the same time, he said, "We must not overlook the fact that there is tremendous growth in the telecom sector which has taken place."
During the almost hour long speeches in both Houses, Singh responded point-by-point to various issues raised by members concerning corruption, black money, ISRO spectrum allocation, inflation, internal security and foreign policy.
Both the Houses adopted the Motion of Thanks by a voice vote without any amendment.
The Prime Minister's reply mainly covered the issue of scams over which the Opposition targeted the government in the debate over the last two days, with BJP alleging that the ruling UPA was suffering from the deficit of "governance" and "competence".
With regard to the CWG, he said the Games were very successful despite doubts that were expressed earlier.
"There were complaints of wrong-doings even before the Games and from the ramparts of the Red Fort, I had promised that if a wrong thing has been done, we will investigate the matter. If found guilty, no one will be spared," he said.
"In all these matters, I think, it is our bounden duty and my promise to this House that we will not flinch from ensuring that no wrong-doer escapes the penalties that our legal system provides," the Prime Minister said.
On black money, Singh said everything would be done to bring back black money stashed abroad as "we are one with Opposition" on the issue.
Underlining that the problem of black money had not occurred only four to five years back but was older than that, he said the government was ready to "sit" with all parties to discuss how to deal with it and "all constructive suggestions" would be considered.
He rejected the Opposition charge that the government was leaderless and dysfunctional. "We are a focused government. There have been some aberrations. I do regret that those aberrations have taken place but we have not lost sight of the long-term goal. We will stay the course and we will overcome."
On the controversial deal between Antrix, ISRO's commercial arm, and private company Devas for allocation of S-band spectrum, Singh said it never came to the PMO for clearance and the agreement, which has since been annulled, was never implemented.
He also attacked the BJP, saying the MoU on this deal was signed in 2003 during the NDA rule.
Taking on BJP leader Arun Jaitley for his comments that 'this is the mother of all sweetheart deals and the figures run in lakhs of crores', Singh said "These are confounding techniques of which the Leader of Opposition is a great master."