New Delhi, April 19 (IANS) Everything was done in consultation with the prime minister, former telecom minister A. Raja said Friday, further muddying the political waters over the draft report of the parliamentary panel on 2G spectrum that blamed him but cleared Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram of any wrongdoing.
While the opposition criticised the draft report of the joint parliamentary committee (JPC) as prejudicial, Congress MP and panel chief P.C. Chacko said it was unbiased and based on facts.
And as another front of differences opened up, Raja said in Chennai: “I did everything in consultation with the prime minister.”
“I will send a note to the JPC. I hope they will call me,” added the leader of UPA’s former ally DMK.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which said the report appeared to be a Congress document, also said the leakage was a “gross breach of parliamentary propriety”.
“The draft report of the JPC on 2G issues has been widely reported in the media. This is a gross breach of well settled parliamentary propriety where any report/draft is debated, discussed, amendments are moved in the formal meeting and thereafter a view is taken,” said BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad.
“Going by the contents of the report in the media, I can only say the 2G scam was one of the biggest scams in the history of independent India, which shamed the country world over and what has been published in the media… I can only say it appears more to be a Congress document not a JPC draft report,” he said.
“The report is not acceptable to us. It is prejudged and prejudiced, covering facts and trying to save a few people and blaming one individual,” added D. Raja of the Communist Party of India (CPI).
JPC chief Chacko defended the dossier and said: “After hard work of one-and-a-half years, I have made a draft report. It is not a biased report and is based on facts and on written documents. I hope it is acceptable to all the members of the JPC,” Chacko told reporters.
The draft report was circulated among the members of the JPC Thursday. The panel will meet on April 25 to finalise the report.
Raja had earlier sought permission of Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar to depose before the JPC but was allowed only to submit his views in writing.
“He was allowed to submit a note and that was circulated to the members. It has been put on record,” said Chacko. “I don’t know why again anybody makes it a charge as Raja was heard by the committee if not in person but through his written views.”
BJP member Yashwant Sinha had also written to the prime minister recently, asking him to appear before the JPC and clear the air.
The prime minister had rejected his request saying all the documents had been provided to the JPC.
In the past, BJP members had boycotted the panel demanding both the prime minister and Chidambaram be called but later gave up on the issue.
In 2011, an entire winter session of parliament was washed out as the BJP did not allow the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha to run till a JPC probe was set up to look into the telecom licence policy.
The issue came up after a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) alleged a presumptive loss of Rs.1.76 lakh crore in the allocation of 2G spectrum licences during the UPA-I government.
The draft report negated the findings of the official auditor saying Raja had changed the cut off date for the allocation of spectrum without notice and this amounted to irregularity.
The report further said it was a policy decision to give licences on first-come-first-served basis and not to go for auction. It noted that the move was backed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.
It also said Chidambaram had no role in decision-making.