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PAC divided over probing 2G scam

April 15, 2011 14:58 IST

Sharp divisions were witnessed on Friday in the Public Accounts Committee over its continuing the probe into the 2G spectrum scam.

At the PAC meeting on Friday, Congress and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam members questioned the need for the committee to continue its examination of the matter as a Joint Parliamentary Committee has already been constituted for the purpose.

Law Secretary D R Meena and Central Bureau of Investigation Director A P Singh were scheduled to appear before the committee for recording of evidence in the matter. Meena had arrived just before 11 am, when the PAC meeting was scheduled to begin, while Singh had reached Parliament around noon.

Meena and Singh were asked to wait in an adjoining room. Officials were seen taking copies of the Terms of Reference of the JPC as some Congress and DMK members were of the opinion that the PAC should conclude the matter as another committee had been specifically set up for the purpose.

"There has been no decision yet on when to ask the two witnesses (Meena and Singh) to appear," a PAC member said during the lunch break at 1:45 pm. Another member said there were some procedural issues on calling witnesses to appear before the committee as the matter was sub-judice.

A member raised doubts on whether the committee would be able to complete its report on the 2G spectrum allocation. Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar and Principal Secretary to Prime Minister T K A Nair have been asked to appear before the PAC on Saturday.

The 22-member committee has seven representatives from the Congress, four from the Bharatiya Janata Party, two each from All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, and one each from Shiv Sena, Biju Janata Dal, Janata Dal - United, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Communist Party of India - Marxist. One seat is vacant.

The PAC is already in the process of filing its report on the 2G spectrum case and hopes to complete it before its term ends on April 30. The new PAC, in which Joshi will continue to be the chairman, will take charge on May 1 and is set to carry on the probe into the anomalies in 2G spectrum allocation.

A turf war had broken out between the PAC chaired by Joshi and the JPC headed by Congress member P C Chacko. Chacko had publicly told the PAC to withdraw suo motu from the probe into the 2G affair, noting that the JPC was set up by a resolution of the Parliament which has also approved its terms of reference.

Joshi, however, had asserted he will continue to fulfill his constitutionally-empowered duty of probing all matters of the 2G scam.

The PAC is a permanent parliamentary body vested with wide ranging responsibilities, as against the JPC, which was set up for a specific purpose for a limited time frame, he had said.

Chacko and Joshi had approached Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, who had asked the two Parliamentary Committees to work in close cooperation and harmony with each other.

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