Joshi submits report- wants it to be tabled in Parliament

New Delhi: Unmindful of `rejection` of the draft report on 2G scam by UPA members, PAC Chairman Murli Manmohar Joshi on Saturday submitted it to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and insisted that it be tabled in Parliament.

Hours after he sent the report to the Speaker`s office on the last day of tenure of the current PAC, he dismissed the UPA members` claim that the report had been rejected.

"I have submitted the report… My expectation is that the Speaker should accept it and place it in Parliament," he said addressing a press conference.

Terming as "unconstitutional" the claim that 11 MPs of the 21-member committee had "rejected" the report, he said such a possibility does not exist till the report is "read" by members and "discussed" para by para.

"It is wrong to say that 11 members have rejected (the report). It is unconstitutional," he maintained about the report which was sharply critical of the Prime Minister, PMO and the then Finance Minister P Chidambaram among others.

The veteran BJP leader accused the government trying to subvert the functioning of a PAC and questioned whether a Constitutionally-empowered Parliamentary panel should work on party lines.

Expressing "anguish" over the happenings in the Committee on April 15 and on Thursday, he claimed that witnesses were told by the ruling side members not to answer questions.

"This is the most unfortunate way in which members were functioning in the committee…. If the Committee itself obstructs someone (witness) from answering, then what is the meaning of questions and answers," the PAC chief said.

He alleged that on Thursday, during the last meeting of the Committee, ministers were passing on "chits" and "calling up" PAC members to speak and behave in a particular manner.

Replying to a question, Joshi said he would wait for a decision from the Lok Sabha Speaker on whether the report had been "adopted".

"Her view will be final," he said.

Tracing the `problems` in the functioning of the committee, Joshi said trouble started when a decision was taken to call top officials of the PMO, Cabinet Secretary, Attorney General and CBI Director for questioning this month.

"It was all fine till April 4 meeting. The Chairman was fine, knowledgeable, impartial and reliable. There was an argument that there was no need for JPC when PAC was working.

Even the Prime Minister was ready to appear before the PAC," he said, in an apparent reference to the arguments put forward by the ruling side when a JPC was being demanded.

"But suddenly everything turned topsy turvy. The Congress members became restive and the atmosphere was vitiated," the BJP leader charged.

He regretted the reported comment of a minister that the PAC draft report will be thrown in the dustbin.

"Today, PAC`s report will be thrown into the dustbin, tomorrow Parliament`s proposals will be thrown into the dustbin and then Supreme Court orders will be thrown into the dustbin. How far will this go?.. You can comment on the reports, there is scope for improving it," he said.

He suggested that the ruling party created trouble as it did not want the Prime Minister`s name to be mentioned.

"Some members did not want the work of the PAC to continue… It is a matter of great concern if the probe into a scam like this is scuttled in this manner," he said.

To a question, he said, "I have not given clean chit to anybody…The Prime Minister remained a mute spectator (on 2G scam)."

Joshi, who has headed the PAC on an earlier occasion too, underlined the point that the Parliamentary Committees generally function beyond party lines.

"The PAC reports are adopted unanimously and there is no provision for dissent," he said, adding, however, that "There is scope for recording differences".

Defending his action of calling witnesses from diverse fields in connection with the 2G scam probe, Joshi said it was the duty of the PAC to "trace and examine the way the money of common man is spent".

Asked why former Telecom Minister A Raja, the main accused in the scam, was not called by the PAC, he said there was no time to call him as he is in jail and procedures would have taken long while the term of the present committee was coming to an end today.

"If the successive (PAC) committees want to call him, there is no bar. If the JPC wants to call him, there is no bar," he said.