Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari on Tuesday downplayed senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yashwant Sinha's demand that Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh should depose before the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on 2G, saying none of the members of the opposition raised any such demand till the time he was in the panel.
"The JPC proceedings are in progress. Since I was a former member of the JPC, it is inappropriate for me to be commenting on a committee, which is still in progress. But suffice to say that till that point in time when I was serving on the Joint Parliamentary Committee, I do not recall the Bharatiya Janata Party or any of its members raising any such demand," he told mediapersons here, when asked to comment on Yashwant Sinha expressing his disappointment over the Prime Minister's refusal to depose before the JPC.
Yashwant Sinha has written a letter to the Prime Minister, stating he is 'surprised and disappointed' over his refusal to depose before the JPC on 2G scam.
Expressing his unhappiness with the Prime Minister's response, Sinha today said that he sent him a reply yesterday commenting upon all the three issues raised by him.
"I said if the JPC were to come to conclusions only on the basis of records and documents then it has wasted its time in trying to call witnesses to depose before it. The second point I made is that you had made a grand offer to appear before the PAC knowing full well that just as the JPC has a right to call anyone, the PAC also had a right minus the ministers and the Prime Minister; but still you made this grand offer if you were right then how can you not be wrong now," said Sinha.
Sinha added:"The third point I made is that whether you have something to hide or not ..... because the government has been hiding documents from the JPC and you are all aware that very important documents were brought to the JPC only after it came in the public domain through the media and the JPC demanded that those documents should be placed before the JPC," he added.
Sinha further said in his letter that it was decided in the JPC that all departments of the government should make available to the panel all the documents on the 2G matter, but even after this they failed to do so.
Reiterating that neither the government nor he has anything to hide in the 2G matter, the Prime Minister replied to Yashwant Sinha's letter on April 2, and said that the decision regarding which individuals should be asked to appear before JPC is a matter that is to be decided by the committee and its chairman.
Dr. Singh in his letter said that all pertinent records and documents available with the government have already been placed with the Joint Parliamentary Committee looking into the 2G matter.
Sinha, who has described the functioning of the JPC on 2G scam as "scandalous", had demanded that the Prime Minister and Finance Minister appear before it for the truth to come out.
Sinha, also a member of the JPC, had raised serious objections over not convening of the panel meeting for two months now and demanded that then Telecom Minister A. Raja, who has been wanting to appear before the JPC, be allowed to do so as he is a key witness in the scam.
Sinha had earlier lashed out at the JPC chairman for not inviting A. Raja to depose before it in connection with the 2G spectrum scam, saying it's a very serious issue.
He alleged that the parliamentary panel is being used to conceal truth in the 2G scam.
Chacko had expressed his displeasure over Sinha's latter to the Prime Minister, and termed it to be a "political stunt and against norms".
Raja was forced to resign from the Union Cabinet after a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) faulted him for undervaluing spectrum to favour companies who were largely ineligible for 2G spectrum, and added that the government had probably lost Rs. 1.76 lakh crore in estimated revenue. (ANI)