Non-submission of 2G note upsets JPC

Members want finance secy summoned

Non-submission of 2G note upsets JPC

Opposition members in the JPC described it as a “serious lapse” and demanded that the finance secretary be summoned immediately to explain.

JPC Chairman P C Chacko expressed difficulty in asking the finance secretary to appear before the committee at short notice but members remained adamant, sources said.
Chacko reportedly placed on record the committee’s displeasure at the Finance Ministry's action and decided to summon the Finance Secretary on October 13.

The Finance Ministry note on the 2G allocation has brought to the fore differences between the two cabinet heavyweights — Home Minister P Chidambaram and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee — on the spectrum allocation policy.
Mukherjee seemingly blamed Chidambaram for the scam. The opposition BJP is insisting on the sacking of the home minister.

Serious lapse

The note, brought to public domain with an individual invoking Right to Information Act,  suggested that then Finance Minister P Chidambaram could have insisted on auction of bandwidth in 2008 and prevented the alleged scam.

CPM member Sitaram Yechury is understood to have raised the issue of the Finance Ministry note in the JPC and said that the note was not among the documents submitted to the JPC.

“If the non-submission of the 2G note was a deliberate act, it amounts to a breach of privilege and if it was a lapse, it is a serious one”, the CPM leader is learnt to have said.
BJP member S S Ahluwalia demanded that the finance secretary be summoned forthwith and the meeting be adjourned till such time. Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) endorsed his view.

After a three-hour debate, the JPC called Nripendra Mishra, who was telecom secretary between February 2004 and March 2005, for recording of evidence but soon after adjourned for the day.

The committee decided to cancel the sitting on Wednesday when former telecom secretary Brijesh Kumar was to appear for recording evidence and the CBI was to update the JPC on the progress of investigation. The investigation into the 2G scam involving an estimated loss of Rs 1.78 lakh crore to the exchequer is being monitored by the Supreme Court, besides being debated in the Public Accounts Committee headed by BJP leader M M Joshi and the JPC.

 

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