Govt sets up JPC to probe 2G scam

Oppn says PMs announcement lacks grace and taste

Govt sets up JPC to probe 2G scam

But opposition parties came down heavily on him for the tone of his statement which said the government agreed on the panel just to avoid a repetition of the winter session.

“We can ill-afford a situation where Parliament is not allowed to function during the crucial budget session. It is in these special circumstances that our government agrees to the setting up of a JPC,” the prime minister said in both Houses on Tuesday, the second day of the budget session.

The 22-day winter session of Parliament had ended without transacting any business as both Houses were stalled by the Opposition demanding a JPC. All efforts by the government to break the logjam were futile.

Singh said his government was committed to rooting out corruption and had acted expeditiously and transparently in this direction. He also listed the steps taken by his administration, including a CBI investigation, into the allocation of 2G spectrum.

The prime minister said the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament was also looking into the issues.

“Our government believed that as all effective steps were being taken, we might have been able to persuade the Opposition not to insist on a JPC. We could not succeed in spite of our sincere efforts,” Singh added.

The prime minister’s statement attracted sharp criticism from the BJP and CPM. “It could have been done in a more graceful and gracious manner rather than in such a tasteless manner to say that it is only a coercive formation of the JPC as far as this government is concerned,” said Arun Jaitley, leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha.

Singh said though the government believed all steps were taken, the opposition might be persuaded not to insist on the JPC.

“We could not succeed in spite of our sincere efforts,” he said. A formal motion on the setting up of the JPC would be moved soon.

In the Lok Sabha, AIADMK leader M Thambidurai demanded representation for all political leaders on the JPC to ensure that there was no feeling of neglect among the members. Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav said the delay in announcing the formation of the JPC had affected the credibility of the government. “The people of the country have come to know that the government had something to hide,” he added.

National Democratic Alliance convener Sharad Yadav wanted the JPC to go into the alleged irregularities in the conduct of Commonwealth Games, the S-Band issue relating to the ISRO and the Adarsh housing scam.

He said the judiciary and media were actively involved in probing the issue. The announcement by the prime minister would also allow Parliament to be part of the exercise.

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