Govt unlikely to form JPC team

Although, Finance Minister and Lok Sabha Leader Pranab Mukherjee assured the Opposition that the government will consider their demand, the ruling coalition will, in all probability, not set up the probe team.

On the financial-legal issues involved, top ministerial sources told Deccan Herald on Friday that in the present case, the two main factors which may attract demand for probe were money laundering and bribe. While there is no credible information from government intelligence agencies establishing clear-cut case of money laundering by the franchisees of IPL, no bribe was given to any government functionary.

As regards bribe, there is the case of a “facilitation fee” of $80 million paid by Multi Screen Media (MSM) — formerly Sony Entertainment Television — to World Sports Group (WSG).

Former BCCI chief and Union minister Sharad Pawar’s son-in-law holds a 10 per cent stake in MSM but then it is inherited.

“Since it (fee) is a private deal and not a government one, it can be termed as a commission between the two private parties. In such a case, the government will have no role to play,” the minister opined.

“In both the cases, intelligence agencies have not been able to establish that there is credible or concrete evidence. On what basis we will announce the JPC?” he asked.
Politically too, forming a JPC could prove to be not too advantageous to the UPA government. There may be demand from the Opposition to get the resignations of the two ministers – ostensibly Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel.

Congress sources say there can be no question of the Prime Minister seeking their resignations as they belong to NCP. Number-wise too the government would be in a tricky position and the Congress would not want to annoy the NCP which has nine MPs in Lok Sabha. The government is in a minority in LS, with 271 MPs in its favour.
“Obviously, we don’t want to rock the boat and there is no question of NCP being put in an awkward position by Congress,” the minister added.

So far, the Indian Parliament has seen three JPCs being constituted: the first on Bofors, second on stock scam of Harshad Mehta and third on urban co-operative bank scam of Ketan Parekh.

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