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UPA govt wants to make PAC a puppet: Joshi

Source: PTI
Last updated on: May 10, 2011 16:25 IST
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The United Progressive Alliance government is trying to make the Public Accounts Committee a "puppet" in its hands and divide it on party lines when the mandate of the panel is to be bipartisan, Murli Manohar Joshi, chairperson of the parliamentary committee that examined the 2G spectrum scam, said on Tuesday.

"It is shocking that four ministers were sitting in the Parliament office of the Congress and sending chits and giving directions to their members in the PAC to do this or do that. In a way they are making PAC a captive committee," Joshi told mediapersons.

He maintained that the PAC is not supposed to work on party lines.

"They (union ministers) want to make PAC a puppet. They want to run it on directions of the government and the party (Congress). A probe against corruption cannot be held with these big hurdles," Joshi said.

Union ministers Kapil Sibal, P Chidambaram, Pawan Kumar Bansal and N Narayansamy were present in Parliament on April 28 when the PAC meeting was on. Joshi has alleged that they were sending directions to Congress members while the proceedings were on.

"It is as if they (Congress members) are actors and these people (ministers) are producers. This is a serious insult to the parliamentary process," he said.

The senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader said that while Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said that immediate action should be taken against those indulging in corruption, his own ministerial colleagues were making all efforts to stop the probe against corruption.

"Is there no effect of his advice on his council of ministers? The Parliamentary Affairs minister told a PAC member from another party to be on his side. In PAC there are no parties. What is this or that side? PAC is above parties and is bipartisan," Joshi said.

Alleging that Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party had changed sides on the 2G spectrum probe, he asked the two parties to clarify why they did so.

"I want to ask SP and BSP to clarify whether they want to stop the probe against corruption to what it to continue? In Uttar Pradesh, they fight against each other and at the Centre they are together. What is the mystery behind it. People want clear answers as to which party is with and which against corruption," Joshi said.

He wondered how SP and BSP had changed their stand on the 2G probe towards the end of the last PAC's term when all along they had supported the probe.

Joshi added that the bank drafts for applying for the 2G licence were made a day before the announcement, and that too in Mumbai.

Joshi alleged that efforts were being made to get the PAC report rejected because names of the prime minister and other ministers have been mentioned in it. "An effort is being made to neutralise efforts to stop corruption," he said.

He said that much thought had been given while constituting PAC, now it was being said that its report would be thrown in the basket. "This is a question of safeguarding the democracy and punishing the scamsters," he said.

Joshi said that the PAC has recommended that Central Bureau of Investigation be freed from government control and a separate law be enacted for the agency.

At present the CBI was working under the provision of Delhi Police Act.

"Under the new Act, provision should be made wherein the agency should report to Parliament every six months about the status of cases and number of prosecution," Joshi said.

He said that its director should be appointed on the line of Central Vigilance Commissioner by a committee and the agency should get powers for transparent investigation.

Joshi said that people should not make efforts to direct the PAC from behind the curtains.

"The Speaker is there to oversee the PAC's functioning, and this is not the work of the ministers," he said. The PAC chairman said that no ministry was ready to tell the quantum of loss in the 2G spectrum scam.

"Initially, they were not ready to accept the scam, then a minister, whose own ministry was probed, gave statement of zero loss," he said. He alleged that a day before the licences were to be given, people knew the name of the beneficiary companies.

"The Comptroller and Auditor General has asked that how a report prepared in Mumbai at 10 am was submitted in Delhi at 10.05 am. This cannot be possible without the connivance of the ministry concerned," he said.

He alleged that efforts were being made to stall the PAC probe into 2G spectrum case.

"They want to turn PAC into a captive committee and want it to function on the directives of the party and the government," the PAC chairman alleged.

"The probe cannot proceed like this," he added. "The PAC's job is to track the source of the money, and where it has been spent. The money belongs to the poor, and such an attempt hampers their interest," he said.

Joshi said that the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had recently said that that scams do happen, but there are checks and balance of CAG and PAC. "Mister Finance Minister control your colleagues, who are acting otherwise," he said.

He said that if people want the prime minister to come under the Lokpal's domain, then he should be covered.   "If there is a problem, the government should convince the people," he said.

Joshi also stressed on controlling government expenditure.

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