Policy

Modify rules to call Manmohan, Chidambaram before panel, Sinha tells Chacko

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on October 13, 2012 Published on October 13, 2012

The BJP has questioned the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) chairman, P. C. Chacko’s position that rules do not allow the summoning of the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister before Parliamentary panels.

BJP leader Yashwant Sinha has written to Chacko saying the JPC is a special committee and it can make modifications in its rules and procedures with the approval of the Speaker. He said there are decisions (on the spectrum allocation) which only the Prime Minister can explain.

Chacko had earlier said that numbers 99(1) and 59(1) of the Speaker’s directions have clearly maintained that a minister shall not be called before a committee to give evidence.

While the BJP demanded summoning of Manmohan Singh and P. Chidambaram, other opposition parties along with SP and BSP had demanded that at least Chidambaram should appear before the panel to explain why spectrum was not sold at market rates.

Sinha said the Prime Minister had offered to appear before the Public Accounts Committee. “Though the PAC did not call him because it could not, the Prime Minister’s offer remains valid for the JPC and he should have no objection in appearing before it,” Sinha wrote.

Sticks to stand

Sinha said though there was no precedent of summoning the Prime Minister before a panel, ministers have appeared before panels, including the JPC. He said as a former finance minister, he appeared before the JPC that probed the stock market scam of 1992. Sinha urged Chacko to write to the Speaker and get her approval for summoning the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister.

He said the JPC was formed on the BJP’s demand and the party wants the panel to succeed. “We are determined not to allow it to act as a committee for covering up the 2G scam,” he added. Sinha repeated the charge that Chacko was behaving in an autocratic manner and said he gagged the members who made an enquiry about the final list of witnesses. “Until this list is drawn up, I feel it will be pointless for my colleagues and me to attend the meetings of the committee,” he added.

> jigeesh.am@thehindu.co.in

Published on October 13, 2012
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