Turf war on 2G probe escalates

New Delhi: The turf war on the probe into the 2G scam escalated on Tuesday with the PAC taking serious note of its criticism by Congress which today further stepped up its attack on Murli Manohar Joshi.

"A Congress leader Manish Tewari has said that the BJP should rein in Dr Joshi. The PAC has taken serious note of Tewari`s comments.

"We have to confirm the veracity of the comments. The Committee has authorised me to take appropriate steps," Joshi told reporters after the meeting of the PAC.

Joshi, who heads the PAC and whose actions have been strongly opposed by the JPC Chairman P C Chacko, plans to write to Tewari, who is also a Congress spokesman, to check on the veracity of the statement attributed to him.

Tewari, a member of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) set up to go into the 2G spectrum, had reportedly said that the BJP should rein in Joshi.

Joshi said the Committee discussed the statement of Tewari but Chacko`s remarked were not discussed.

However, Tewari remained unfazed and continued his attack on Joshi. He alleged that the "duplicity" and "opportunism" of BJP in demanding JPC had been exposed by the way the PAC led by Joshi had taken up the 2G probe.

"The manner in which PAC Chairman Murli Manohar Joshi is functioning proves the opportunism of BJP whose demand for JPC was based on the premise that PAC cannot look into policy issues.

"The way the PAC is now looking into these things, the opposition party should introspect," party spokesperson Manish Tewari told reporters here today.

Tewari said that it becomes incumbent on the BJP to "ensure that Joshi as PAC chairman sticks to his mandate."

Tewari said that the BJP should "otherwise apologise to the nation for holding the Parliament to ransom" over JPC demand.

Tewari also rejected Joshi`s contention that PAC was a constitutional body.

"PAC Chairman has been erroneously propagating that the PAC has a constitutional stature. It is absolutely incorrect.

The Constitution does not mention any such committee…. PAC is but yet another Parliamentary committee," Tewari said.

He said that the PAC Chairman Joshi by pursuing his course of investigation into the 2G issue "is exposing complete duplicity of BJP."

The JPC, headed by a Congressman, has been at loggerheads with the PAC over what it feels is the intrusion into its territory. Chacko took up the matter with Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar who met both the leaders and discussed the issue.

Joshi said the apprehensions expressed over the PAC function have no basis. He said the 2G allocation scam was being looked into even by the Parliamentary Committee on Information Technology, the CBI, a Supreme Court.

He said retired Supreme Court judge Justice Shivraj Patil has also submitted his report to the Telecom Ministry.

BJP also joined the war of words with party Vice President Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi saying both JPC and PAC were working within their domain.

"The government has lost its credibility. Some people in the Congress are trying to hamper the probe," he said.