Citing how Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself had offered to appear before the PAC on 2G, BJP leader and member of the JPC Yashwant Sinha on Monday pointed out that former telecom minister A Raja needs to appear before the panel as he has leveled “serious allegations” against the PM and Finance Minister P Chidambaram.
“It is in your personal interest that Raja be allowed to appear before the JPC,” Sinha wrote in his letter to the Prime Minister.
Earlier on Monday, Sinha said JPC chairman P C Chacko’s decision not to call Raja before the panel was virtually defeating the purpose for which the JPC was constituted, adding that the panel would as a result end up “concealing the truth” instead of exposing it.
What Sinha said was in a way a repetition of the point Raja had made in the 18-page written response he had sent to Chacko on March 18. In it, Raja had again requested the JPC chairman to let him depose before the panel so as to allow the “truth” to come out.
Tiruchy Siva too had asked Chacko to “convene” a meeting of the Committee to discuss the future course of action in view of Raja’s request to bring out the truth. Siva had written that the JPC chairman was not only going against parliamentary convention but also denying “opportunity to a parliamentary Committee to hear a key witness”.
Chacko has not given in to the pressure to call Raja by citing two reasons: One that his case is subjudice and he will not be able to go beyond what he has already told the courts as an accused in the case; secondly, as the JPC is looking at spectrum pricing and allocation policies of consecutive governments from the NDA period onwards, one former telecom minister (Raja) can’t be called in isolation.
However, Sinha has brushed aside these arguments asserting that not calling Raja defeats the purpose for which the JPC was set up in the first place-that is, getting to the bottom of the 2G scam.
Referring to the three letters that Raja wrote (one to the LS Speaker and two to Chacko), Sinha said, “I think it’s a very serious omission that the Chairman of JPC is making by not inviting Raja to depose before the panel. Raja is right in casting aspersion on the intention of the JPC.”
Sinha said that it was not just his view alone, but the opposition MPs from the Left are also on the same page on this.
“I think we are proceeding in a direction where the JPC will be used to conceal the truth rather than expose the truth. And, it is very serious matter. Unfortunately, the Chairman of JPC, despite our request, is not calling a meeting of the panel so that the matter could be thrashed out.”
But Chacko maintains that he had undertaken the writing of the report with the concurrence of the members of the panel and no meeting is possible before the first draft is ready.