JPC to discuss PAC probe into 2G scam

After discussing the issue its first meeting tomorrow, the JPC plans to write to the Public Accounts Committee Chairman about the Committee confining itself to inquiring issues over which the CAG report has made its observations.

"We have no quarrel with them. Propriety demands that we will point out to them. Joshiji is a very senior member of parliament and he also knows propriety is very important," JPC Chairman P C Chacko said.

Maintaining that JPC, which has 30 members from both the Houses, was constituted by a resolution passed by the Parliament and the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the committee was mentioned in it, Chacko told PTI, "our ToR need not be the subject matter of another committee's enquiry.

"There is an impropriety in that obviously and that we want to point out to the committee."
He said two committees of Parliament submitting contradictory reports or different reports to Parliament will create a difficult situation.

"So normally, it is the precedent and it is the practice and as far as some committees are concerned it is a rule that the same topic will not be discussed by two committees," Chacko said.

He said tomorrow's meeting will also discuss the issues including the number of meetings to be held in a week, documents to be summoned, and the enquiry should start from where to where.

"All these things will be decided then," he said. The JPC is supposed to submit the report to Parliament by the end of monsoon session and it will try to keep to that time schedule, he said.

"And if absolutely necessary, then we will ask  for extension," Chacko said.

Explaining the issue of two committees not not going into the same subject, Chacko said, "in Parliament, there is a rule, not applicable for this JPC or PAC, but to the other committees--standing committees.

"When one standing committee is taking up one subject for discussion another standing committee will not take that up or should not take that up. There is a rule like that.
"Two committees of Parliament submitting contradictory reports or different reports to Parliament creates a difficult situation. Normally, it is the precedent and practice and as far as some committees are concerned it is a rule that the same topic will not be discussed by the two committees."

Chacko said in the 2G scam there was a demand for a JPC and JPC was not formed. In that intervening period, PAC which is normally entitled to scrutinise the CAG report seized on the  matter and started inquiring into the whole 2G Scam.

"Not only the CAG report. In addition to that the policy prescriptions, the telecom policy from 1998 onwards, even before that also, they started analysing.

"The telecom policy changes made by the subsequent governments, implementation and the problems in implementation and in all these, calling people, questioning them. This is exactly the job of the (JPC)," he said.

The veteran parliamentarian from Kerala said now now that the JPC has been formed by  Parliament, exclusively to go into all these issues, the PAC should refrain from going into a "wider" enquiry.

"I think that this opinion is being acceptable to many even in the PAC. In our first meeting itself, I want to discuss these issues and then write to the PAC," he said.

Asked how he felt that the PAC was going "beyond" its, Chacko said the the CAG's  report is before them.

"Whether there is any financial loss.  PAC examining the CAG report is a routine business. As a normal routine how do they analyse the CAG report, that only should be done.
"Because we read from the media that they are doing a roving enquiry into the whole question including  the telecom policy and its implementation.

Asked to cite an example of the roving inquiry, Chacko said the PAC was going into the  policy formulations of the 98 onwards.

"Now they have  started calling for  policy documents, and Cabinet decisions. Witnesses are being called, all related journalists are being called. That shows that the enquiry is a wide enquiry  not confined to CAG reports.

"So the duty of the JPC is to go into that. Simultaneous or a parallel enquiry will not be good for the parliament.," he said.

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