The Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) examining the allocations and pricing of telecom licences and spectrum gave a clean chit to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and finance minister P Chidambaram in the 2G scam.
The draft report prepared by JPC chairman PC Chacko had angered the opposition members in the panel who are gearing up for submitting dissent reports rejecting the draft report prepared by Chacko. The JPC is scheduled to meet on April 25 to approve the draft report.
Blaming former telecom minister A Raja of the DMK for the 2G mess, the report allegedly pointed finger at him for changing the rules of licensing at the last minute to allow firms to jump the long queue to get licences. The draft report, apparently leaked to the media, said Raja failed to keep the PM in the loop about the changes made in the norms.
The report said that 2G spectrum was allocated on a first-come-first-served basis after TRAI’s recommendation. Sources said the draft report suggested that the Prime Minister and the finance minister had no role in tweaking norms while allocating 2G licences. It said the JPC had disagreed with the CAG who said `1.76 lakh crore had been lost due to swindle.
The JPC, which was constituted on 4 March, 2011, is expected to submit its report in the current budget session of Parliament. The panel, which had marathon 56 sittings, had witnessed war of words among the opposition members and the chairman, Chacko. The opposition members, particularly from the BJP, have been demanding that the Prime Minister and the finance minister should be called before the parliamentary panel to depose, besides the then telecom minister A Raja. The DMK, which had withdrawn support to the UPA recently, has also been demanding that Raja should be called to depose before the committee. Raja, who spent a year in jail before being granted bail, himself offered to depose before the JPC and even wrote a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar.
BJP member Yashwant Sinha had even written to the PM asking him to appear before the JPC. But Manmohan Singh replied that he had “nothing to hide” as the entire information was submitted to the committee.