JPC to discuss PAC probe into 2G scam

New Delhi: The turf war over 2G Scam inquiry has refused to die down with the Joint Parliamentary Committee planning to discuss tomorrow whether the PAC, chaired by senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi, has gone beyond its mandate.

After discussing the issue in its first meeting tomorrow, the JPC plans to write to the Public Accounts Committee Chairman about the Committee confining itself to inquiring issues over which the CAG report has made its observations.

"We have no quarrel with them. Propriety demands that we will point out to them. Joshiji is a very senior member of parliament and he also knows propriety is very important," JPC Chairman P C Chacko said.

Maintaining that JPC, which has 30 members from both the Houses, was constituted by a resolution passed by Parliament and the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the committee was mentioned in it, Chacko told PTI "our ToR need not be the subject matter of another committee`s inquiry.

"There is an impropriety in that obviously and that we want to point out to the committee."

He said two committees of Parliament submitting contradictory reports or different reports to Parliament will create a difficult situation.

"So normally, it is the precedent and it is the practice and as far as some committees are concerned it is a rule that the same topic will not be discussed by two committees," Chacko said.

He said tomorrow`s meeting will also discuss the issues including the number of meetings to be held in a week, documents to be summoned, and the inquiry should start from where to where.

"All these things will be decided then," he said.

The JPC is supposed to submit the report to Parliament by the end of monsoon session and it will try to keep to that time schedule, he said.

"And if absolutely necessary, then we will ask for extension," Chacko said.

Explaining the issue of two committees not not going into the same subject, Chacko said, "in Parliament, there is a rule, not applicable for this JPC or PAC, but to the other committees–standing committees.

"When one standing committee is taking up one subject for discussion another standing committee will not take that up or should not take that up. There is a rule like that.

"Two committees of Parliament submitting contradictory reports or different reports to Parliament creates a difficult situation. Normally, it is the precedent and practice and as far as some committees are concerned it is a rule that the same topic will not be discussed by the two committees."

Chacko said in the 2G scam there was a demand for a JPC and JPC was not formed. In that intervening period, PAC which is normally entitled to scrutinise the CAG report seized on the matter and started inquiring into the whole 2G Scam.

"Not only the CAG report. In addition to that the policy prescriptions, the telecom policy from 1998 onwards, even before that also, they started analysing.

"The telecom policy changes made by the subsequent governments, implementation and the problems in implementation and in all these, calling people, questioning them. This is exactly the job of the (JPC)," he said.

The veteran parliamentarian from Kerala said now now that the JPC has been formed by Parliament, exclusively to go into all these issues, the PAC should refrain from going into a "wider" enquiry.

"I think that this opinion is being acceptable to many even in the PAC. In our first meeting itself, I want to discuss these issues and then write to the PAC," he said.

Asked how he felt that the PAC was going "beyond" its, Chacko said the the CAG`s report is before them.

"Whether there is any financial loss. PAC examining the CAG report is a routine business. As a normal routine how do they analyse the CAG report, that only should be done.

"Because we read from the media that they are doing a roving enquiry into the whole question including the telecom policy and its implementation.

Asked to cite an example of the roving inquiry, Chacko said the PAC was going into the policy formulations of the 98 onwards.

"Now they have started calling for policy documents, and Cabinet decisions. Witnesses are being called, all related journalists are being called. That shows that the enquiry is a wide enquiry not confined to CAG reports.

"So the duty of the JPC is to go into that.

Simultaneous or a parallel enquiry will not be good for the parliament.," he said.

Asked what he would do if the PAC Chairman does not agree and says he will go ahead, Chacko said "They can. But it is our responsibility and it is our duty to point out this."

To a question whether he would complain to the Speaker, he said "When parliament passes a resolution unanimously and in the resolution the Terms of Reference is specifically mentioned …..there is an impropriety in that obviously. And that we want to point out to the committee.

And whatever they want to decide, let them decide."

Asked about a time frame, he said "We have a time frame. We are supposed to submit the report by the end of monsoon. We will try to keep that time schedule and if absolute necessary, then we will ask for extension.

"But we have to do a duty because parliament and people are all expecting something substantial from this committee including on the policy formulation and implementation for the future for the future governments to come. This is our duty to make prescription and make a suggestion to the Government."