Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members in the joint parliamentary committee (JPC) on the 2G telecom spectrum scam said they wouldn’t attend the committee’s meetings until Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram were called as witnesses in the probe into the scam.
In a letter to JPC chairperson P C Chacko, BJP leader and former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha argued the committee was authorised to modify the Parliament procedure, as it enjoyed special status.
“The present JPC is an extremely important committee, set up with the intent to uncover the truth behind the 2G scam. I think there can be no dispute that the nature of the scam is uncommon, and the committee is entitled to adopt uncommon procedures. The decisions taken by the prime minister can only be explained by him, not by senior officials of his secretariat,” Sinha said in the letter.
He added the prime minister had offered to appear before the public accounts committee and there shouldn’t be any objection to calling him as a witness in the 2G spectrum probe, too. “As far as a precedent is concerned, there should be no problem in creating a new precedent, as the JPC had created in 1992 by calling ministers before the parliamentary committee,” he said.
If the aim of the committee was to arrive at the truth, asking the prime minister and the finance minister to appear before the committee was unavoidable, though some JPC members weren’t in favour of the move, Sinha said.
He added though decisions of the chairpersons of all parliamentary committees prevailed and members had the right to express dissent, these applied only to the committee’s final report, not to the procedures adopted by the parliamentary committee.