Bharatiya Janata Party leader Balbir Punj on Friday demanded Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's resignation -- in the wake of former Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrashekhar's revelation to the Joint Parliamentary Committee investigating the 2G scam -- that Dr Singh had ignored his recommendation that an entry fee of Rs. 36,000 crore be charged for spectrum.
Punj said the prime minister must quit his office so that an impartial and objective inquiry is conduced into the matter.
"Now that he virtually has been named as an accused by the then cabinet secretary, it is imperative that an impartial, objective inquiry is held into the entire episode. And no inquiry is possible under the circumstances till the prime accused continues to occupy the high office of the prime minister of India," said Punj.
"Keeping in view the best traditions of democracy, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh must resign so that an objective and impartial probe is made possible into this entire episode," he added.
Punj pointed out that it is very clear after the former cabinet secretary's statement that the prime minister, through his acts of omission and commission, has also contributed to this huge scam, which the comptroller and auditor general has estimated at Rs 1,76,000 crore.
Chandrashekhar's disclosure that he had submitted a note recommending a huge upward revision in the existing price of Rs. 1,651 crore for pan-India spectrum that had been discovered at 2001 rates, was in response to Communist Party of India leader Gurudas Dasgupta's persistent questioning about the failure of the cabinet secretariat to act on a matter which had such huge financial implications for the country.
According to Chandrashekhar, the note was submitted on December 4, 2007. More importantly, it was not written suo motu, but submitted in response to a specific enquiry made by the prime minister regarding the financial implications of the allocation of scarce 2G spectrum at the 2001 price.
Chandrashekhar explained that his recommendation for a staggering increase in spectrum price was based among other things, on the size of the market, the improvement in tele-density and the fact that demand had exceeded supply, which was reflected through a long queue of 575 applicants for the licence.
The BJP once again abstained from the proceedings of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on 2G over its demand for calling Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram as witnesses before the panel.
The BJP, which has six members in the JPC, had also stayed away during the last meeting on October 11. The party had accused Chairman P C Chacko of failing to finalise the list of witnesses and including Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram in it.
The BJP members had earlier stormed out of the meeting after accusing Chacko of being biased.
They also accused Congress members of using foul language against them.
The BJP has maintained that it will not attend the JPC meetings till the list of witnesses is finalised and the prime minister and the finance minister are summoned.