'Omar has no business advising BJP'
The leaked Niira Radia tapes indicated that the health of every government institution is at stake and only a joint parliamentary probe could unravel the various facets of the 2G scam, including the 'role of power brokers' in the allocation of telecom portfolio, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Arun Jaitley has said.
Admitting for the first time that he had an 'element of regret' over the wash-out of the winter session of Parliament over the JPC demand, the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha said, "But then, look at the way public opinion, media and Parliament has today accepted that there is a huge case of corruption as far as India is concerned".
"Why was there insistence to give this (telecom) portfolio to just one person within one party? What is the role of power brokers within the entire system in deciding all this? How was this policy framed? How was this loss caused," he said during an interview.
Image: Arun Jaitley
'The health of every institution is at stake'
Impressing upon the need for the JPC probe, he said, "If those (Niira Radia) tapes, to media, to judges to the political system, to government formation are considered, the health of every institution is at stake.... Who else but the JPC can investigate all this"?
Asked if the JPC demand was justified at the cost of paralysing the Parliament for 23 days, the opposition leader said that the larger gain has been much more as the country has been made to realise that corruption in high places is a key issue.
Jaitley disagreed that it was merely because of the CAG report that the matter had attained focus and said, "All these facts stated in the CAG report are a repetition of what we have been raising and the country was not accepting it till the Parliamentary protests took place after the CAG report".
"The CAG report merely endorses what we have been saying since one and half years," he said.
Image: Niira Radia
'Raja would still have been a minister'
Jaitley claimed that the BJP had got ample public support owing to its relentless campaign in and outside Parliament and added that the larger gain was that the entire public opinion has swung against the government for not acting on the issue of corruption.
He said, "If we had not obstructed Parliament, Mr (A) Raja would still have been a minister and the Central Bureau of Investigation would not have acted the way it did. We have put the entire process into motion".
He also blamed the media for not taking the 2G issue seriously when the BJP had raised the issue one-and-half years ago.
"They don't merely need a CAG report, these facts were in the public domain even before that date," Jaitley said.
Image: Former telecom minister A Raja
'There is no CAG report against Yeddyurappa'
To a question on whether the BJP was taking a high moral ground on the JPC issue, when in Karnataka its Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa faced serious allegations of corruption, he said, "There is no CAG report against him".
On the Lokayukta in Karnataka terming as unethical and improper the government's move to order a judicial inquiry into land controversies, Jaitley said the matter was in the high court and he would not discuss it further.
Image: B S Yeddyurappa
'Hoisting a national flag can't offend anyone'
Jaitley said he did not accept Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's advice of not hoisting the tricolour in Srinagar and added, "I don't think that hoisting a national flag can offend anyone and if anybody has to be offended, let it be so.
"I think the CM has no business to advice another political party not to hoist the national flag. I think if his assessment of peace is not to hoist the national flag, I dispute his contention," Jaitley said.
Rejecting to suggestions that the BJP stood a chance of squandering its public image since 2009 by the JPC demand and the flag hoisting plan in Srinagar, he said, "I think the demand for JPC is perfectly justified. I think our attachment to the national flag is as much as our patriotism and as much as our desire to hoist our national flag anywhere in our country on Republic Day".
"If somebody objects, I think it is a matter of shame," he said.
Image: Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah unfurls the national tricolour during Independence Day celebrations in Srinagar