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'Summon PC as JPC witness'

With A Raja dragging Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and P Chidambaram in the 2G case, BJP leader Yashwant Sinha has asked JPC chairman PC Chacko to summon the home minister as a witness before the committee.
By HT Correspondent | PTI, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 28, 2011 07:59 PM IST

With A Raja dragging Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and P Chidambaram in the 2G case, BJP leader Yashwant Sinha has asked JPC chairman PC Chacko to summon the home minister as a witness before the committee.

Several other members of the Joint Parliamentary Committee have written to Chacko with requests to make various former finance ministers as witness before the panel looking into the 2G scam.

Besides former finance ministers, at least four members have suggested that RBI governor and former finance secretary D Subbarao be made a witness.

Sinha wrote to Chacko yesterday requesting him to include the name of Chidambaram as a witness.

"I am collecting all the letters and the Committee will take a decision by consensus on whom to be called...the politicians which include former telecom ministers and former finance ministers will appear before the Committee at the end," Chacko told reporters after the JPC meeting.

Arguing that sale of equity was not sale of licence, Raja's counsel had told a court earlier this week that the DMK MP cannot be accused of corruption in the controversial 2G spectrum allocation.

"The matter (about sale of equity by spectrum licencees) was discussed between the Prime Minister and the then finance minister (P Chidambaram). The then finance minister who is now home minister had said in front of the Prime Minister that dilution of shares does not amount to sale of 2G licence as per the corporate law," his counsel had said.

Chacko said while requests have been made to call former finance ministers, there has been no demand to call the Prime Minister before the JPC.

He recalled that Sinha, a former finance minister, has volunteered to appear before the JPC as a witness.

The JPC, meanwhile, continued its questioning of former telecom secretary AV Gokak for the second day.

Gokak had on Wednesday admitted before the committee that he had overruled directives of then Prime Minister IK Gujral asking Trai to undertake a study on the demands of telecom operators and instead gave it to BICP and ICICI Bank to get a speedier report.

Chacko said while the Department of Telecom had authorised Bureau of Industrial Cost and Pricing to prepare a report on telecom industry's health, the same approval was not granted to ICICI.

Gokak, telecom secretary between 1996 and 1998, told the JPC that he had himself decided to rope in ICICI.

While ICICI completed its report quickly, the BICP gave its report after 11 months in November, 1998 after Gokak had retired.

"Though the ICICI was not authorised by DoT to prepare report, its recommendations, along with those of BCIP, were implemented by the government...the migration package of 1999 is a result of that," Chacko said.

He said Gujaral had asked Trai to prepare a report on industry's health after the operators made a representation seeking government's assistance.

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