Bharatiya Janata Party members of the Joint Parliamentary Committee examining the 2G spectrum issue on Thursday boycotted the meeting of the panel in protest against Chairman P C Chacko's refusal to accede to their demand to summon the prime minister and the finance minister.
The six BJP members in the JPC- Yashwant Sinha, Jaswant Singh, Gopinath Munde, Harin Pathak, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Dharmendra Pradhan- did not attend the meeting held today. They had staged a walkout in the last session when Chacko had refused to discuss their demand for calling Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram.
Sinha has also written a strongly worded letter on behalf of the BJP members to Chacko to register his party's protest. The party has alleged that Chacko is acting in an 'autocratic' and 'non-democratic' manner.
The letter maintains that in a meeting in July, the main opposition had demanded that the prime minister and the finance minister be summoned.
"In this meeting, as well as in the meetings of the committee we have strongly demanded that in order to arrive at the right conclusions, the committee must record the evidence of the prime minister and the finance minister. Their appearance before the committee, in view of their role in the decision making process is absolutely necessary," Sinha said.
The letter further states that there are questions which "they and they alone can answer".
But it is the attack on Chacko's style and manner of functioning which forms the larger part of the letter.
"You have been avoiding taking a decision on this issue for reasons best known to you. When we tried to raise this issue once again in the meeting of September 18, you behaved in a totally non-democratic, in fact, in an autocratic fashion and did not allow some of my colleagues and me to even raise the issue," Sinha said.
He described this behaviour of Chacko as "shocking in the extreme" and said this left BJP members with no option but to stage a walkout from that meeting.
Communist Party of India leader Gurudas Dasgupta stormed out of the meeting of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on 2G accusing Congress member Shashi Tharoor of defending a witness which was "against the procedures" of the panel.
"I walked out as defending a witness when the witness is deposing before a Committee is against the procedures. Tharoor has created a bad precedence," Dasgupta told reporters.
He claimed that when the then Additional Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs Sindhushree Khullar was defending giving the 'non-paper' to the Department of Telecommunications saying that the approval of Director (Infrastructure) was there, Tharoor tried to shield her.
Dasgupta said he then staged a walk out.
The CPI leader said he has also demanded that Finance Minister P Chidambaram should be called before the JPC as a witness.