Joint parliamentary committee Chairman P C Chacko on Tuesday said the committee, probing the 2G telecom spectrum allocation scam, has called all important witnesses but is yet to take a decision on calling former Telecom Minister A Raja before it.
"The general impression among the committee members is that all principal witnesses have been examined and it is time we start writing the report. But I will take any decision on calling Raja after discussing the issue with other members," Chacko told PTI in New Delhi.
Asked whether he was virtually ruling out calling Raja as a witness, he said only the committee can take a decision on the issue. "We have completed examining witnesses in our last meeting. No new date has been announced for a meeting. I will consult the committee members individually," he said.
The former telecom minister has expressed willingness to appear before the panel and Dravida Munetra Kazhagam members in JPC T R Baalu and T Siva have been pressing Chacko to call Raja as a witness.
On Friday last, Raja had written to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and Chacko making a strong pitch for appearance before the JPC as a witness claiming that he has been ‘condemned unheard’.
The DMK members also demanded calling Attorney General G E Vahanvati again before the panel after he told JPC earlier this month that the controversial press note regarding 2G licences was changed at the last minute by Raja in 2008 with a different pen.
Vahanvati was then the Solicitor General. Raja has also been blamed for the 2G scam by other witnesses before the special Central Bureau of Investigation court. Chacko is apparently against calling Raja as a witness. He has told the committee members that as an accused Raja has legal protection and cannot make fresh revelations before any committee.
Therefore, there was no point in calling Raja. Raja's request has come when the three-month-long budget session of Parliament has just commenced. Congress members in the JPC are against calling Raja as a witness as his deposition could be used by opposition members, including BJP and the Left, in cornering the government.
Raja has maintained that he had kept the Prime Minister's Office and others informed about his decisions on 2G licencing issue.