Opposition divided over JPC probe into PNB scam

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 22, 2018

DEREK O’BRIEN, Trinamool Congress MP

Trinamool says past JPCs have not yielded results; CPI(M) for probe; Cong undecided

The Opposition camp has witnessed differences over a proposal for Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the ₹11,400 crore Punjab National Bank scam. While principal Opposition Congress is yet to take a decision, the Trinamool Congress has rejected the idea, which was first mooted by the Left parties.

Bengal’s ruling party said there had been instances when JPCs had brought no outcome. “We do not want a JPC. It can not be the solution. We believe that the truth should come out fast. We have seen in the past…in 1987, in the Bofors case, the report given by the JPC was rejected by the Opposition. Whether [it is] the Harshad Mehta case or the Ketan Parekh case, action is still pending,” the Trinamool’s leader in the Rajya Sabha, Derek O’Brien, told reporters on Wednesday. “In all such corruption cases, it is the common man who is at the receiving end. They are denied loans. We will raise the issue in Parliament and also take to the streets against such financial scams,” he said.

A Congress source said the party is yet to discuss the proposal.

The Left parties had reasoned that JPCs have probed financial frauds in the past and that the PNB case needs a thorough inquiry. “In previous instances of financial frauds of Harshad Mehta and Ketan Parekh, JPCs were constituted and the then finance ministers had deposed before them and put in place corrective measures. In the extant case also a JPC should be constituted and the current Finance Minister must be made to answer all the relevant questions,” the CPI(M) Politburo said in a statement.

The CPI(M) had called for protests across the country demanding a JPC probe. It said crony capitalism rose to alarming levels under the Narendra Modi government. “One after another chosen corporates’ who have defrauded people’s money and manipulated the system are allowed to leave the country before facing the law of the land,” its statement said, and added that the Prime Minister must furnish information on who were the industrialists whose NPAs have been waived to the tune of ₹2 lakh-crore, according to a statement made in Parliament. “The Prime Minister must also provide a list of industrialists accompanying him on his foreign visits at the expense of the State exchequer. Concealing of these names shows the levels to which crony capitalism benefitting chosen individuals close to the ruling party is being practised. This is completely reprehensible and cannot be accepted,” the statement added.

The CPI too demanded a JPC probe. “We feel on one hand the legal process should continue and the government should leave no stones unturned to bring such scamsters (Nirav Modi and others like Vijay Mallya) back to India...their properties attached, on the other a JPC should be constituted so that many other questions can be answered,” CPI national secretary D Raja said.

Published on February 21, 2018

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