Joshi bid to take up 2G spectrum report scuttled

Congress members in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Tuesday blocked BJP leader and panel chairman Murli Manohar Joshi’s attempt to table the previous PAC’s report on the 2G spectrum allocation issue.

Dr Joshi, who was re-appointed PAC chairman, had tried to table the previous PAC’s report on 2G spectrum for adoption by the panel. He had also tabled Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar’s letter, which stated that the report was being returned as it had not been adopted by the committee. Dr Joshi is now expected to consult constitutional experts on the status of the report since there are conflicting views on it among members.
Opposing Dr Joshi, Congress members contended that the document was “non-existent” since it has already been “rejected” by a majority of the members of the previous panel. The Congress members claimed the new PAC has no “locus standi” to revive the issue. However, despite opposition from the Congress, the Opposition parties’ demand that the report be circulated was supported by DMK and BSP members who wanted Dr Joshi to take a decision in this regard.
It may be recalled that the report was critical of both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the then finance minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, on the 2G spectrum scam. In the previous panel, BSP and SP members, UPA allies, had also criticised Dr Joshi’s report. The report was rejected as the majority, belonging to Congress, SP, BSP, NCP and DMK, opposed it in the previous panel.
The previous panel had seven representatives from the Congress, four from the BJP, two each from the AIADMK and DMK, and one each from the Shiv Sena, BJD, JD(U), SP, BSP and CPI(M). In the new panel , the Congress has eight members and its allies NCP and DMK one each. The BJP has four, the BSP two, and the Shiv Sena, BJD, AIADMK, CPI(M), SP and Akali Dal have one member each.
Sources disclosed, as Dr Joshi tried to revive the issue in Tuesday’s meeting, that Congress member Jayanthi Natarajan sought to know the basis on which he was staking up the matter. She said that since the matter is already being probed by a joint parliamentary committee (JPC), there was no need for the PAC to take up the issue. She was supported by party colleagues K. Sudhakaran, Sanjay Nirupam, Girija Vyas, Saifuddin Soz and K.S. Rao. Ms Natarajan sought to know from Dr Joshi the basis on which he had written to the Speaker about the “unruly behaviour” of the Congress members during the PAC meeting on April 28.
However, the NDA members, supported by the DMK and BSP, wanted the report circulated for consideration. Sources said BSP member Satish Chandra Mishra suggested that members would be in a position to comment on it only after reading it.
Later, Dr Joshi said, “Various points of views were expressed by members by citing rules of procedure and directions and guidelines were quoted both for and against.” He said he informed the panel that he would consider their views and the opinion of constitutional experts would be taken and placed before them.
Meanwhile, the Congress attacked Dr Joshi’s attempt to revive the 2G issue. Party spokesperson Manish Tewari said, “Stop sacrificing parliamentary propriety at the altar of political expediency.”

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