BJP ends JPC boycott

Firm on summoning PM

The BJP members, who attended the Joint Parliamentary Committee meeting probing the 2G scam on Thursday after ending a three-month boycott,  stuck to their demand of calling Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as a witness to examine his role in spectrum allocation.

File photo

However, their demand was rejected by panel chief P C Chacko, which also received support of CPM members.

A decision on calling Finance Minister P Chidambaram as a witness will be taken at a special meeting later. Sources said the same meeting will also decide on summoning other former finance ministers Yashwant Sinha and Jaswant Singh, both members of JPC, as witnesses.

As soon as the proceedings began on Thursday, BJP members led by Yashwant Sinha and Ravi Shankar Prasad reiterated their demand to call Singh and Chidambaram against the backdrop of the deposition by former Cabinet secretary K M Chandrasekhar, sources said.

Chandrasekhar had earlier told the committee that he had written to the prime minister suggesting an increase in the license fee for 2G spectrum so that the government could earn an additional Rs 35,000 crore.

The BJP members said they wanted to ask some questions to the prime minister. They may send a questionnaire to Singh instead of insisting on calling him in the next meeting.

At one point of time, the meeting witnessed heated arguments between Congress member Pravin Rashtrapal and the BJP members, when the former demanded that Atal Bihari Vajpayee should also be summoned before the committee. The BJP members said they were not against calling any body if the prime minister and the finance minister are summoned.

CPM's Sitaram Yechury has demanded calling the finance minister to understand why the finance ministry decided to support the Department of Telecom’s move to allocate radio waves on first-come-first-served basis. It is learnt that some members like DMK's T Siva also demanded that former telecom minister A Raja be called as a witness.

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