New Delhi: Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) Chairman PC Chacko on Thursday said that the decision to summon Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram before the JPC in the 2G case would be taken by the Speaker. He also said that if there would be a demand for Nira Radia tapes, which are in the Supreme Court, to be placed before the JPC, he would consider it.
Earlier, BJP members of the JPC examining the 2G spectrum issue on Thursday boycotted the meeting of the panel in protest against Chairman PC Chacko's refusal to accede to their demand to call the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister.
The six BJP members in the JPC- Yashwant Sinha, Jaswant Singh, Gopinath Munde, Harin Pathak, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Dharmendra Pradhan- did not attend the meeting held in New Delhi. They had staged a walkout in the last session when Chacko had refused to discuss their demand.
Sinha has also written a strongly worded letter on behalf of the BJP members to Chacko to register his party's protest. The party has alleged that Chacko is acting in an 'autocratic' and 'non-democratic' manner.
The letter maintains that in a meeting in July, the main opposition had demanded that the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister be summoned. "In this meeting, as well as in the meetings of the Committee we have strongly demanded that in order to arrive at the right conclusions, the Committee must record the evidence of the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister. Their appearance before the Committee, in view of their role in the decision making process is absolutely necessary," Sinha said.
The letter further states that there are questions which "they and they alone can answer". But it is the attack on Chacko's style and manner of functioning which forms the larger part of the letter. "You have been avoiding taking a decision on this issue for reasons best known to you. When we tried to raise this issue once again in the meeting of September 18, you behaved in a totally non-democratic, in fact, in an autocratic fashion and did not allow some of my colleagues and me to even raise the issue," Sinha said.
He described this behaviour of Chacko as "shocking in the extreme" and said this left BJP members with no option but to stage a walkout from that meeting.
CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta also stormed out of the JPC meeting on 2G accusing Congress member Shashi Tharoor of defending a witness which was "against the procedures" of the panel. "I walked out as defending a witness when the witness is deposing before a Committee is against the procedures. Tharoor has created a bad precedence," Dasgupta said.
He claimed that when the then Additional Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs Sindhushree Khullar was defending giving the 'non-paper' to the Department of Telecommunications saying that the approval of Director (Infrastructure) was there, Tharoor tried to shield her. Dasgupta said he then staged a walk out. The CPI leader said he has also demanded that Finance Minister P Chidambaram should be called before the JPC as a witness.
In a letter to JPC Chairman PC Chacko, Dasgupta said the Finance Minister will be able to explain his Ministry's "inability to prevent DoT from unilaterally going ahead with the allocation of 2G licences in spite of opposition from various quarters."
He also said as Finance Minister, Manmohan Singh had deposed before the JPC on securities scam. This may effectively nail down suspicion and can bring out that there is no impartiality on part of the JPC to conduct a neutral inquiry, Dasgupta wrote in the letter.
His letter comes after a similar demand was made by CPM leader Sitaram Yechury in the September 18 meeting of the JPC.
(With additional inputs from PTI)