The Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday charged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with orchestrating a vilification campaign against the Public Accounts Committee chairman Murli Manohar Joshi after the parliamentary panel had asked a PMO official and the Attorney General to appear before it for questioning in the 2G scam.
"I am afraid to say that the prime minister is the director of the ongoing vilification campaign against Joshi after he had asked a PMO official and the Attorney General to appeal before the PAC to explain their role in the 2G scam," BJP national spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told mediapersons.
Singh apparently got rattled after the PAC brought his office in the ambit of the PAC's probe in the 2G scam, he said and held him directly responsible for the smear campaign against Joshi.
The BJP leader expressed bewilderment at the government's attempt to trash the PAC investigation into 2G scam after leakage of its interim report even as the latter had extended all cooperation with the parliamentary panel with the prime minister himself offering to appear before it if he was required to explain anything in the 2G scam.
There was no problem with the PAC probe into the 2G scam when top honchos of the telecom ministry including Ratan Tata and Anil Ambani deposed for questioning, the problem started only after the government got to know that the PMO was being dragged into the scene, he said.
Prasad alleged that the UPA government found faults with Joshi only after the PAC draft report on 2G scam was leaked and said that the vicious campaign against the BJP leader started only after a PMO official and Attorney General was asked to appear before the panel for explaining.
Prasad also questioned the move by some PAC members to
'elect' the Congress Rajya Sabha MP Saifuddin Soz as the PAC chairman at a meeting on April 28 and said that the action was violation of the laid down parliamentary practice since 1957 that the PAC chairman has been a Lok Sabha member and that too from the main opposition party.
The BJP spokesman slammed the union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal for allegedly using unparliamentary language against Joshi by describing him as 'Mr Doshi,' apparently with an intention to debunk the draft report of the PAC on 2G scam.
Being an educated person and a learned advocate, Sibal was not expected to use unparliamentary words against a senior BJP leader like Joshi, Prasad said, adding that the former launched a verbal attack on the PAC chairman apparently with blessings of the prime minister and the Congress leadership.
On the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party joining forces with the Congress in isolating Joshi at the PAC meeting on April 27, a day after the leakage of the draft report, he said that it was a 'coalition of corruption' at the national level.
The BSP and the SP were trying to fool the Uttar Pradesh people by playing anti-Congress politics in Lucknow and at the same time did not hesitate to join forces with the Congress at national level, Prasad said and described the three parties as 'Triveni' (confluence) of corruption.
The SP and BSP leadership needed Congress to bail them out in the corruption cases in lieu of political support in time of crisis, the BJP leader said.
On the leakage of the draft report of PAC, Prasad said that it was possible that the draft may have been leaked by the Congress members apparently to alert the party leadership about the outcome of the report so that an action plan could prepared to scuttle the report.
Stating that the Lok Sabha Speaker was at liberty to order probe in the leakage of the PAC draft report, the BJP leader said that the content of the report was more important than the aspect of leakage.
Prasad also denied the charge that the content of the PAC draft report may have been outsourced and regretted that the cynics were raising question marks about the wisdom and integrity of the parliamentary panel.
On the possible replacement of Joshi as the PAC chairman from the BJP, he said that the saffron party will take an appropriate decision at appropriate time, but added that whosoever takes over will not toe the 'dictation' of the government.
The BJP spokesman said that his party will launch a nationwide campaign on the UPA government's attempts to scuttle probe into various corruption charges by all means with the vitriolic attack on the sitting PAC chairman being the latest example in which the latter tried to bully the parliamentary institution to toe its line.