Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) chairman P C Chacko on Tuesday said that the JPC cannot summon former Telecom Minister A Raja, the prime accused in the 2G Spectrum allocation case, before the committee as a witness as article 20(3) of the Constitution clearly mentions that an accused person who is undergoing trial in any courts in the country cannot be or should not be summoned before a panel as witness against himself.
“So, a person accused of any offence being compelled to be a witness against himself is unconstitutional. And that is the reason why the JPC had sought only his written deposition in the case rather than inviting him to the JPC, Chacko told reporters in Thrissur.
However, when asked about Raja’s voluntary insistence on appearing before the JPC to give his view on 2G spectrum allocation, Chacko parried the question saying that it is ‘unconstitutional’. He further said that if the JPC had summoned Raja before the committee, it would have been compelled to summon at least 10 former telecom ministers during the period between 1998-2008 before the committee to record their statements in the case. “If the committee had done so, more skeletons would have tumbled out of the Telecom Department’s cupboard,” he said.
“Moreover, it is not practical to summon the entire ministers who served the department during the 1998-2008 period before the committee. The JPC had already summoned the telecom secretaries and other officials concerned who served at the Telecom Department between 1998 and 2008 and recorded their statements. And, it is sufficient to reach a conclusion in the case, he said.
In reply to a question on the leakage of the draft JPC report on the 2G spectrum allocation issue, Chacko said it has to be investigated. “Since there are 30 members in the committee from the opposition and ruling sides, the chairman alone cannot plug the leakage, he said.
But, the UPA government has cent per cent trust in the JPC, and that is the reason why it allotted three more months’ time for the committee to submit its report, he said.
The final report will have answers to whether the loss figure calculated by the CAG has any tenability, if a colossal loss has happened and if so, who is responsible for this and so on, he said.