Opposition guns for Raja, govt cautious

Opposition guns for Raja, govt cautious

The Opposition parties stalled Parliament for the second consecutive day while demanding Raja's removal and Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the alleged irregularities to the tune of Rs 1.76 lakh crore in 2G spectrum allocation.

The government, while rejecting demands for JPC, made it clear that any decision on the issue could be taken after the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), which has "indicted" Raja, is discussed in Parliament.

"The CAG has already given its report. The PAC, which is a mini JPC, will go into the issue and report to Parliament. It will again be debated. Why there is a demand for JPC? It is un-understandable," Home Minister P Chidambaram told reporters outside Parliament House.

Echoing similar views, Bansal said, "Corruption is a serious issue...CAG (report) is yet to be finalised. Now the matter would rest with the Public Accounts Committee. The PAC has to look into it."

Contending that anybody found guilty should be punished, he said that after the PAC presents its report to Parliament, "it is the right of Parliament to go for a structured discussion. That is what Parliament is meant for."

He said Raja may have been "indited by one organisation (CAG), (but) that is not the end of the matter...the matter is before the Supreme Court...we should not make a final decision on anything only after listening to one point and then inflate the issue.
"We then consider it to be our right to take a decision. We should reach to the bottom of the matter."

In an apparent effort to forestall any action against Raja, DMK leader and party chief M Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi met Finance Minister and Congress trouble-shooter Pranab Mukherjee here and is understood to have told him that he should not be removed from the Union Cabinet.

"Why should he (Raja) resign," asked DMK spokesperson and Lok Sabha MP T K S Elangovan and saying that everyone should wait for the CBI probe to end.
"Whatever the Minister did was based on the norms set by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. Let the CBI inquiry into the issue end first," he said.

AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa, meanwhile, sought to fish in troubled waters, saying Raja should be dropped and if DMK withdraws support, she would extend support of 18 MPs -- 9 from her party and remaining from other "like-minded parties".

Congress, however, was dismissive about the offer, saying there was "no vacancy" as DMK remains its ally.

In the Supreme Court, the Telecom Ministry said the CAG did not have the authority to question the policy decision as per which 2G licences were issued to new players in 2008.

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