Congress scuttling 2G probe: BJP

Last Updated: Fri, Aug 24, 2012 02:58 hrs
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New Delhi: A day after walking out of a meeting of the parliamentary panel examining the 2G scandal over "differences", the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday said the Congress-led coalition government was trying to "scuttle" the probe.

"The gameplan of the government is very clear.They (Congress members) want to scuttle the whole process," BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, a member of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC), told reporters on Thursday.

"They insisted on calling former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and (former defence minister) George Fernandes as witnesses.... They behaved in a brazen manner which is not acceptable to us," he said.

Referring to Wednesday's meeting, Sinha reiterated that Congress leaders used "worse than foul language" against the BJP members when they insisted on calling Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the then finance minister P Chidambaram as witnesses.

"They alleged that we are indulging in politics on the issue and said we will not allow this to become a kangaroo court," Sinha said.

On Wednesday, five BJP members, who are part of the JPC examining the 2G spectrum allocation scandal, walked out of a meeting of the panel on Wednesday over differences on the issue of calling Prime Minister Singh and Finance Minister Chidambaram to depose before it.

The BJP members demanded to call Singh and Chidambaram to depose before the panel in order to conduct a 'fair' investigation into the 2G scam.

Senior BJP members including Yashwant Sinha, Dharmendra Pradhan, Jaswant Singh and Ravi Shankar Prasad walked out of the meeting on Wednesday sparking another verbal war with the Congress.

According to reports, the meeting was likely to finalise the names of people who have to depose before the committee.

Yashwant Sinha said the BJP members walked out of the meeting after Congress members used 'foul languages' against them.

"When the JPC meeting took place today, all of us in our own way put forth our demands with regard to the list of witnesses. We suggested that the Prime Minister and Chidambaram should be called to the JPC to appear as witnesses," Sinha told reporters.

"No sooner did we raise the demand, junior members of the Congress started using foul language against us," he said. "One member went to the extent of saying that we want to convert the JPC in to a kangaroo court."

He said the BJP members had no other choice but to walk out of the meeting.

"We had no choice in the circumstances but to stage a walked out of the JPC today," Sinha said.

He said the BJP members of the JPC will address the media on the issue on Thursday.

"Tomorrow we shall meet with the media in a structured manner," Sinha said.

Ravi Shankar Prasad said: "No fair investigation in the 2G will be possible by the JPC unless the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister are called."

The Congress, meanwhile, countered the charges made by the BJP and said the walkout was a 'premeditated and pre-orchestrated' move.

Speaking on the incident, Congress leader Manish Tiwari told reporters: "The political party wants to further its political agenda."

"If at all there are insinuations that I used any word which was unparliamentary, I reject it," he said.

"I leave it to the discretion of the chairman of the JPC to expunge these remarks," Tiwari said.

The incident occurred amid reports that the BJP will quit the JPC.

The BJP has threatened that its members, who are part of the JPC, will resign from it if the list of deposition did not include the names of Manmohan Singh and Chidambaram, reports said on Wednesday.

Six members of the BJP are part of the JPC that is examining the 2G scam.

Speaking on the resignation, Sinha said: "We will take a call on resignation later."

Touted to be the biggest corruption scandal of independent India, the 2G scam, allegedly masterminded by former telecom minister A Raja, pertains to a biased distribution of mobile airwaves and operating licenses, in lieu of kickbacks, to telcos that could have cost the treasury up to Rs 1.76 lakh crore in lost revenue, according to the government's auditors CAG.

The court on May 15 granted bail to Raja who was languishing in the Tihar jail for 15 months in the 2G case.

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