Congress on Sunday demanded the resignation of Murli Manohar Joshi as Public Accounts Committee Chairman alleging the Bharatiya Janata Party leader was making the Parliament committee "partisan and motivated" and "playing politics" by circulating afresh with some changes the panel's controversial report on 2G scam.
The BJP on its part there was "nothing wrong" in Joshi's action on Saturday raising prospects of another round of confrontation in the Parliament's Public Account Committee over the report which questioned the role of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and P Chidambaram when he was the former finance minister.
Accusing Joshi of "playing politics", Congress leader and PAC member Sanjay Nirupam said the report "deserves to be thrown in the garbage". He said in the last PAC meeting it was decided that with regard to the 2G report, they must take some opinion from constitutional experts.
"However, without circulating the opinions of the expert, our chairman has started circulating the same report which deserves to be thrown in the garbage," he said.
He demanded that BJP should replace him by someone else as "Mr Chairman is not at all maintaining decorum and is basically playing politics". Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said, "Clearly the chairman and the BJP are bent upon making the committee political, partisan and motivated. The PAC chairman or the PAC are not oxygen generating medical units to breathe life into a constitutionally dead PAC report."
Defending Joshi, BJP leader S S Ahluwalia said, "The report was sent to the speaker and the speaker said the report has not been adopted. So naturally, if the report has not been adopted by a committee, then it has to be circulated to be adopted. So if it has been circulated, there is nothing wrong in it."
Joshi circulated the report on Saturday to the PAC members with a forwarding letter that he was sending them the draft report again after consulting legal experts, rules of procedures and "past precedents".
In his letter to the members, Joshi said he has consulted the experts, looked into precedents and referred to rule books and he believes the draft report is the "unfinished agenda of the previous PAC".
The report was returned by Speaker Meira Kumar suggesting it was not supported by the entire PAC whose term ended on April 30. Holding that after rejection of the earlier report, none exists in law or fact, Singhvi said proceedings, if any, have to commence de novo.
"Secondly, it has to be decided whether it is more appropriate for a larger or more specific committee like the JPC set up for this purpose to look into the matter or the PAC, which is general, is riven with a vote of no-confidence in its chairman and holds no live reference on the 2G issue as of now," he said.
A PAC member said, "There are much more annexures than the previous report... some paragraphs have been deleted. But the essence is the same."
On June 28, Joshi had made a similar attempt to place the report before the new PAC but his effort was thwarted by its United Progressive Alliance members, following which it was decided that constitutional experts would be consulted on whether the report returned by Speaker Meira Kumar can be considered by it.
In his letter, Joshi has referred to the Speaker's decision to return the report as it was not adopted by the committee as per rules. The speaker had returned the report to Joshi, who was reappointed as chairman in May, suggesting it was not supported by the entire PAC whose term ended on April 30.
The PAC meeting had on April 28 descended into chaos after the UPA managed to secure the support of Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party to secure a majority which rejected the draft report on the 2G scam that was sharply critical of the prime minister, his office and others.
Joshi had then sent the report Kumar along with a covering letter detailing the sequence of events during the meeting.