BJP, Left want Chacko sacked as JPC chief

New Delhi, April 25 (IANS) The BJP and the Left united Thursday to ask Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar to remove P.C. Chacko as chief of the joint parliamentary committee (JPC) looking into 2G spectrum allocation.

Though the meeting of the JPC to finalise the draft report was postponed following the death of Trinamool Congress’s Lok Sabha MP Ambica Banerjee, opposition members went ahead with their appointment with the speaker.

The 30-member JPC, which is divided over the content of the report, was scheduled to meet at 3 p.m. Thursday.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Left have come together on one platform to seek rejection of the report. Non-Congress members of the panel met the Lok Sabha speaker at her residence to press for Chacko’s removal.

“This is the biggest scam of independent India and government is not speaking on it. If Raja (former telecom minister) says prime minister was in the know… then he (prime minister) should answer,” said deputy leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Prasad said they had submitted a memorandum to the speaker seeking removal of Chacko.

“We want his removal to ensure that neutrality and integrity of JPC is maintained,” he said.

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Sitaram Yechury said Chacko had lost the confidence of JPC members.

“This is a report not acceptable to us and the manner in which the report was circulated and leaked is not acceptable. The chairman (Chacko) has acted in an improper fashion and has lost confidence of committee members,” said Yechury.

The Congress core group met Thursday to discuss the issue. In attendance were Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Defence Minister A.K. Antony, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath.

The draft JPC report had laid the blame for the losses to the public exchequer due to faulty allocation of spectrum and grant of licences on former telecom minister A. Raja, clearing Manmohan Singh and P. Chidambaram of any wrongdoing.

The JPC is divided over the culpability of Raja, whose note submitted to the panel has stated that everything he did was with the knowledge of the prime minister.

In 2011, an entire winter session of parliament was washed out as the BJP did not allow either house to run till a JPC probe was set up.

The issue came up after 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 during 2004-09.

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