2G scam: JPC to start quizzing telecom secretaries

New Delhi: The Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probing the 2G spectrum allocation scam will start questioning from Thursday former telecom secretaries including Siddharth Behura who is currently lodged in Tihar Jail, and ex-chiefs of TRAI.

Behura will be produced before the committee on July 12 after the special CBI court dealing with the 2G spectrum allocation scam case agreed for the same.

He is in jail since February facing charges of cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy in the 2G scam.

Besides former telecom secretaries, former chiefs of TRAI will also appear before the committee to record their evidences.

Former secretaries A V Gokak, who was Telecom Secretary between November 1996 and August 1998, Vinod Vaish, Shyamal Ghosh, Anil Kumar, J S Sarma and Nripendra Mishra will be examined on its sittings on July 7 and 8.

Dinesh Shankar Mathur and former Chief Vigilance Commissioner P J Thomas who was also a telecom secretary during Raja`s period, will appear before the committee on its sitting on July 12 and 13, the source said.

The secretaries will be quizzed to know the policies adopted during their tenure and other details including the sources of policy recommendations.

Former TRAI chairmen whose statements will be recorded include Nripendra Mishra, S S Sodhi, M S Verma and Pradip Baijal.

Interestingly, Mishra will appear before the committee on July 8 and 13 as both former Telecom Secretary and former chief of TRAI.

The JPC is mandated to examine policy prescriptions and their interpretation thereafter by successive governments, and irregularities and aberrations and its consequences in the implementation of government decisions from 1998 to 2009.

Meanwhile, the JPC headed by Senior Congress leader P C Chacko has decided to hold its meeting on every Tuesday and Wednesday of every month.

Sources said the committee, which is hoping to submit its report during the monsoon session of Parliament, will also summon business tycoons like Ratan Tata and Anil Ambani whose companies were the alleged beneficiaries of 2G Spectrum scam.

There is a strong demand from the members to summon corporate lobbyist Niira Radia who also allegedly played a key role in the multi-crore scandal, sources said.

The CAG, in a report to Parliament last year, had pegged presumptive loss to the exchequer on 2G spectrum allocation at Rs 1.76 lakh crore.

The findings triggered a political storm and subsequent events led to the resignation of then Telecom Minister A Raja.