PAC's powers go beyond CAG report: Joshi

In an interaction with the media, Joshi said the Public Accounts Committee has a "constitutional mandate" and its functions extend to areas other than CAG reports.
Reading out the Terms of Reference of the PAC, he said, the committee has to satisfy that the "moneys shown in the accounts as having been disbursed were legally available for, and applicable to, the service or purpose to which they been applied or charged."
He said the PAC will also check if the "expenditure conforms to the authority which governs it".

Though Joshi avoided a direct reply to queries on whether he felt JPC has more and wide-ranging powers, he gave broad indications that PAC would continue its probe into the 2G Spectrum allocation despite the formation of the joint panel under P C Chacko.
"There can not just be overlapping but several overlaps (on the 2-G spectrum scam). There can be overlapping with JPC. There can be overlapping with the Supreme Court. There can be overlapping with the CBI probe," Joshi said, in reply to a question on whether overlapping between JPC and PAC would lead to problems.

This appeared to be a mild rebuff to JPC chairperson P C Chacko who had earlier said that PAC should not launch a parallel probe on the 2-G spectrum issue and confine itself to the CAG report.

"I (PAC) am a perpetual body. PAC will be there whether JPC is there or not," Joshi said, adding that the PAC has been investigating the matter even before formation of the JPC.
The BJP leader maintained that before him the 2-G spectrum issue was being looked into by the PAC even under the chairpersonship of his predecessors Jaswant Singh and Gopinath Munde.

"We are doing our duty. We are doing our constitutional as well as our moral duty," he said.

Asked if Chacko had written a letter suggesting that the PAC confine itself to the CAG report, Joshi replied in the negative."He may have written a letter but I have not received any," Joshi said, adding that if he gets a letter from Chacko he would look into it.

 Asked if Chacko had met him, Joshi said he has been meeting him in Parliament. He did not rule out that the issue may have come up during their casual meetings.

Joshi was evasive on whether and when some prominent journalists who figure in the Niira Radia tapes would be called by the PAC."It is for the committee to decide," he said.
Sources said some of the outgoing members of the present PAC were opposed to calling the journalists but with a new PAC taking over from May 1, the opinion is likely to change.
Joshi said most of the PAC members had expressed happiness with the presentation made by The Pioneer correspondent Gopi Krishnan, Outlook editor Vinod Mehta and Open editor Manu Joseph.

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