The political slugfest over the report of Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which is probing country’s biggest 2G spectrum scam, has defeated its purpose. PAC chairman Dr Murli Manohar Joshi has submitted his report to the Lok Sabha Speaker. The Congress has not only rubbished the report but also pointed fingers towards the intention of Dr Joshi launching protest against his reappointment as PAC chief but Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar following Parliamentary precedent reappointed him as PAC chairman. Previous PAC report is in limbo while the strategy of the Congress after Joshi’s reappointment would be a significant. A very active member from ruling party in PAC and secretary of Rahul Gandhi, Bhanwar Jitendra Singh, faced a volley of questions from Dainik Jagran. Excerpts:   

Your take on what happened in PAC?

In one word—unfortunate. The dignity of PAC, one of the oldest committees existing since 1921, has been dented by making it a political tool.

The commotion was created by the Congress members, so whose responsibility is it?

The dictatorship and unconstitutional stand of Dr Murli Manohar Joshi are responsible for the entire mess. The Congress members did not show any unparliamentry activity. Crossing all boundaries of discrimination, the PAC chief disregarded the dignity of the committee.

The members of ruling party held meeting by selecting Saifuddin Soz as their chief and on the basis of majority the report was scrapped. What have you to say on that?

(Interrupting in the middle) First, he did not announce the postponing of the meeting. Many of the members were demanding for voting since the morning, but he was shrugging it off. When the members went vocal, Dr Joshi left the meeting in a huff. As far as selection of chairman is concerned, Saifuddin Soz was made chief for that meeting only. That is not a violation of any norm. A chairman could be selected for a meeting of all Parliamentary committees. Dr Joshi took unconstitutional step that he did not accept the majority of the committee.  

When Dr Joshi had intensified investigation of 2G scam, BJP and other Opposition parties were feeling the heat while the Congress did not have any problem. Then, why did the Congress object to the report?

It proves that we do want probe of 2G scam. We stood together with PAC chief rather than any party or leader. We wanted truth should come out, but owing to despotic attitude of Dr Johsi fraying the dignity and parity of the committee, we launched protest against him.

Dr Joshi and other BJP leaders blamed that the Congress and its allies created commotion after the PM was put in the dock?

It’s totally wrong. We have been saying from very beginning that the PAC is meant for probing CAG report, but Dr Joshi never paid attention to it. We always protested in decent manner, but he started probing like CBI. He never took any suggestion form members. His intention is clear that he summoned all but A Raja, kingpin of 2G spectrum scam.     

But PM himself offered to appear before the committee. How was it wrong to call others linked with the scam?

It was the PM’s greatness and he was very earnest for the probe. Ask that to the Opposition. They themselves stalled the Parliament for a long time and after that they forced for the formation of JPC.

You want to say that after the formation of JPC, PAC should stop its functioning?

No, the PAC has its own way to function and has different set of norms. He should probe the scam on the basis of the CAG report. PAC is consisted of 21 members rather than one. He should take all members into confidence and work beyond the party’s parochial interests. Moreover, he should ensure the JPC probe is not affected.

Lok Sabah Speaker has reappointed him as the PAC chief. What will you do now?      

Lok Sabha Speaker has maintained the Parliamentary precedent. PAC chief comes from the Opposition only. As we protested, the BJP should have sent other names to the Speaker, but the party recommended Dr Joshi’s name only.

Joshi is again PAC chairman. Will PAC again turn into a political battle field?

I don’t buy your point. However, I will tell you many of the members do not have faith in Dr Joshi, which will have some ramification.

Does it mean you will boycott PAC?

I will be non-committal on this point. Only I can say that Dr Joshi is a senior leader, he should take right decision… That’s it. 

Final question, your take on the PAC report…?

The report was rejected by majority. It will be ridiculing democracy and Parliamentary committee if the report is accepted.