JPC stalemate lingers on as Chacko rejects BJP demand

Last Updated: Thu, Oct 18, 2012 12:30 hrs

New Delhi, Oct 18 (IANS) The stalemate in the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probing the 2G spectrum allocation continued Thursday, with panel chief P.C. Chacko virtually rejecting the BJP demand to call Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram as witnesses.

The decision led to the opposition party members staying away from the JPC meeting once again.

Chacko, a senior Congress MP, told reporters here that Speaker Meira Kumar, to whom he last week wrote seeking her opinion on calling ministers as witnesses, had asked the committee to first arrive at a decision on the issue before she gives her ruling.

"If I was to call them (prime minister and finance minister) as witnesses, it would have happened by now. There is no question of calling the prime minister, as there is no precedent. With regard to the ministers, if there is an unanimous decision, we will call them," Chacko said after a daylong meeting of the JPC when former cabinet secretary K.M. Chandrasekhar deposed.

"It is always good if there is an unanimous decision. If there is no unanimity, there has to be a majority decision (on calling the ministers before the panel)," Chacko said.

To a query on persuading the six BJP members to return to the meeting, the Congress MP said all his efforts till now have failed.

About BJP leader Yashwant Sinha's letter on the matter, Chacko said he has already replied to every point Sinha raised on the list of witnesses.

Sinha and his five party colleagues have been away wanting Chacko to finalise the witnesses list and to take a decision on calling the prime minister and finance minister to depose.

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