New Delhi: The JPC examining the 2G scam on Tuesday took exception to Finance Ministry's ‘attempts to suppress facts’ by not submitting to it the controversial internal note on the issue and decided to summon Finance Secretary R S Gujral for an explanation. Met FM to discuss routine matters: Narayanasamy (JPN/ Agencies)
As the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on telecom policies met this morning, several members questioned the non-submission of the Finance Ministry note which suggested that Chidambaram when he was the Finance Minister in 2008 could have prevented the 2G scam if he had insisted on the auction of the spectrum.
Sitaram Yechury (CPM) is understood to have dubbed the non-submission of the note by the Finance Ministry as a ‘serious act’ if it was a lapse on their part.
He went a step further and termed it as a ‘breach of privilege’ if the note was withheld deliberately by the Finance Ministry when it was asked by the JPC to submit to it all the documents related to the 2G spectrum allocation.
S S Ahluwalia of the BJP demanded that the meeting be adjourned till the Finance Secretary appeared before the Committee to explain the position. Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) is also learnt to have expressed similar sentiments.
After a three-hour debate on the matter, the JPC called Nripendra Mishra, who was Telecom Secretary between February 2004 and March 2005, for recording of evidence but soon adjourned for the day.
It was also decided to cancel the sitting on Wednesday when former Telecom Secretary Brijesh Kumar was to appear for recording of evidence and the CBI was to update the JPC on the progress in investigation into the 2G case.
JPC Chairman P C Chacko is understood to have expressed displeasure of the Committee on the Finance Ministry's actions and decided to call the Finance Secretary on October 13. After the controversial 2G note came into public domain through an RTI application, Chacko had written to the Finance Ministry to provide it to the panel.
Subsequently, the Ministry had submitted 50 copies of the note written by Deputy Director P G S Rao to Vini Mahajan, Joint Secretary in the PMO dated March 25, 2011.
The note was circulated among JPC members yesterday but they were unhappy that it was given to them only after it had become public, sources said.
Besides Gujral, former Telecom Secretaries Mishra and Brijesh Kumar have been asked to appear before the JPC on October 13. The CBI is expected to update the JPC on the progress in 2G probe the next day.
Government on Tuesday rubbished reports of any tussle among ministers on the 2G spectrum issue and downplayed the late night meeting between Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Law Minister Salman Khurshid and Minister of State in PMO V Narayanasamy.
"The matter is in the court and the Supreme Court is monitoring it and JPC is looking into it. It would not be proper to discuss this issue now," Narayanasamy told reporters when asked whether the issue came up at the meeting at the Finance Minister's residence.
"I meet the Finance Minister twice every week to discuss Parliament issues. I met him yesterday to discuss routine government matters," he said.
About the controversy over the Finance Ministry note, Narayanasamy said, "The Prime Minister will be coming back today and Mukherjee will be meeting him and (he) will talk about it only after meeting the PM."
Narayanasamy also brushed aside reports of a tussle among ministers in the government on the 2G issue as baseless and denied reports of Home Minister P Chidambaram offering to resign.
New Delhi: The JPC examining the 2G scam on Tuesday took exception to Finance Ministry's ‘attempts to suppress facts’ by not submitting to it the controversial internal note on the issue and decided to summon Finance Secretary R S Gujral for an explanation.
Met FM to discuss routine matters: Narayanasamy