BJP demand a ploy to shield corporates, says Congress

Cong remark comes against the backdrop of Yashwant Sinha’s demand to summon Manmohan Singh and P Chidambaram before the JPC on 2G scam

New Delhi : Congress on Sunday saw a ploy to “shield” corporates having a stakehold in 2G spectrum allocation in BJP’s latest demand to summon the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister before the JPC probing the scam.

“The remit of the JPC extends from 1998 to 2009. There are three stakeholders in this process – the executive, the regulators and the corporates. The executive and regulators have been extensively examined. The corporates are untouched.

BJP demand a ploy to shield corporates, says Congress

“The demand to summon ministers may be a cat’s paw to shield the corporates,” Congress spokesman Manish Tewari told PTI.

His remarks came against the backdrop of JPC member and BJP leader Yashwant Sinha’s demand to call Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram before the panel and gain significance as Tewari is a prominent Congress member in the JPC headed by senior party MP P C Chacko. Tewari, in the last meeting of the Joint Parliamentary Committee, had reportedly demanded that the transcript of the Niira Radia tapes be made available to the Committee to understand the politician-corporate nexus.

In his letter to Chacko, Sinha maintained that there can be no problem in “creating a new precedent” by the panel as was done by the JPC in 1992 (for the market scam) when ministers were summoned for evidence.

Referring to the summoning of ministers, Tewari said, “If at all, ministers have to be summoned, then all Telecom and Finance ministers from 1998 onwards must be called in chronological order. There cannot be any cherry picking.

“There is also a moral dilemma should former Finance Ministers who serve on the JPC be witnesses before the same committee on which they serve? However, that call is best left to their conscience,” the Congress spokesman said.

Sinha’s letter to the JPC chief came two days after Chacko asked Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar to decide on the demand for summoning Finance Minister P Chidambaram as a witness before the Committee.

Chacko has categorically ruled out summoning of the Prime Minister.

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