Apparently seeking to pacify an angry BJP, Joint Parliamentary Committee chief P C Chacko on Tuesday dismissed reports that the panel has named former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in its draft report in the 2G scam.
"We have the highest regard for Atal Bihari Vajpayee. This report has not mentioned the name of Vajpayee. We have not made any reference to the former prime minister," Chacko, who is also the Congress spokesperson, told reporters at the AICC briefing.
His remarks have come at a time when moves are afoot to bring all non-Congress members on the JPC together as part of plans to defeat the report, which has given a clean chit to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram in the whole issue.
There were also reports that the committee's draft has named Vajpayee, which was strongly contested by Chacko. The clarification by Chacko from the party podium was made on a day, when the Opposition upped the ante for the resignation of the prime minister on the coal-gate issue, which was summarily dismissed by Sonia Gandhi.
Amid Opposition closing in the ranks against him on the JPC report, Chacko denied that JPC reports are decided by the game of numbers saying there has been a precedents of adopting the reports with dissenting notes.
"I am sure that some dissenting notes will come and I welcome that," he said.
Ahead of the April 25 meeting of the panel, when the report is to be adopted, Chacko said there is "nothing new" in the latest written submission made by former Telecom Minister A Raja and that "there is nothing that we have to re-examine".
To a question on whether he apprehends that his fate would be that of PAC Chairman Murli Manohar Joshi, who had found himself in minority on the 2G report issue, Chacko said, "I wish it should not happen to me. I have been very cooperative and courteous to everybody. I have full faith that the members in my committee will have a full discussion."
Chacko insisted that JPC was not a "Congress committee" but a panel of Parliament.
"It's not about majority or minority," he said, adding that the precedents have it that the JPC reports are adopted with dissent notes.
Maintaining that the leaking of the JPC draft report was most unfortunate, he said that he feels very happy about any inquiry into the matter.
He rued that in the past one year, whenever he circulated some classified documents among members, the next day they reached the media. "I am the most aggrieved persons about the leak of the papers."
To a volley of questions about why Raja was not called before the committee, he said that he gave Raja special opportunity by allowing him to give his submissions in writing.
Chacko also said that had Raja been called, the panel would have to call 10 former telecom ministers, whose tenure fell in its ambit of probe.
"There is nothing new. It was already before the committee. There is nothing new for the committee to read from the documents. We already had these documents. I told this to Raja also," he said.
Chacko also said that if the Opposition parties reject the report, it will mean they did not want the JPC for which they had wasted a full Parliament session.
"A rejection means that they did not want the Committee. They had wasted a whole session," he said.