The opposition is furious at the clean chit given by a Joint Parliamentary Committee or JPC that studied the 2G scam, to the Prime Minster and Finance Minister P Chidambaram. The JPC's draft report says they were unaware of the alleged malpractices of then Telecom Minister A Raja to give away cheap telecom licenses and free 2G airwaves to ineligible companies. Opposition parties accuse the committee's chief, PC Chacko, of "acting like a Congressman."
Here are top 10 developments in the story:
1) The JPC report, circulated among the members of the panel yesterday, says, "the Committee are inclined to conclude that the Prime Minister was misled about the procedure decided to be followed by the Department of Telecommunications in respect of issuance of UAS licences. Further, the assurance given by the Minister of Communications and Information Technology (Raja) in all his correspondence with the Prime Minister to maintain full transparency in following established rules and procedures of the Department stood belied."
2) The BJP and the CPI have both said they reject the report in its current form and will move dissent notes. The JPC is made up of 30 MPs across political parties.
3) The BJP has said it categorically disagrees with the all-clear given to the PM. It has slammed the draft report saying it's an attempt to suppress rather than to bring out facts. The main opposition party is expected to raise the issue as soon as Parliament reconvenes for the rest of the Budget Session on Monday. (Read
4) The Left has said Mr Chacko is "acting more like a Congressman than the chairman of the panel." CPI's Gurudas Dasgupta also said that Mr Chacko "was under obligation to save the PM."
5) Mr Chacko has told NDTV he had "anticipated the Opposition anger," and has defended the report as being based not on bias, but on facts. "Anybody who is objecting the report or the modus operandi of preparing the report is on the political lines...and not on the basis of merit," he said.
6) Mr Chacko, who reiterated today that the PM and Finance Minister had no role to play in the 2G scam, had earlier earned the opposition's ire by refusing to give in to the BJP's demand that the two leaders be summoned to depose before the JPC.
7) The JPC report says Mr Raja changed the rules of licensing at the last minute to allow firms to jump a long queue to get licenses. "The Committee wish to point out that the procedure regarding the First-Come-First-Served (FCFS) criteria was a "misrepresentation of facts and in tactic deviation from the existing procedure," it says.
8) It has rejected Attorney General GE Vahanvati's deposition earlier this year wherein the latter said that he was unaware of Mr Raja changing a controversial press note regarding 2G licenses at the last minute. Mr Vahanvati was the Solicitor General at the time.
9) The report has also disagreed with the government's auditor, the Comptroller and Auditor General, which said that Rs. 1.76 lakh crore had been lost on account of the alleged swindle. The report says the figure is unfounded and baseless.
10) A Raja belongs to the DMK, which walked out of the UPA government last month. He spent over a year in jail in the 2G case and is now out on bail. Mr Raja had repeatedly asked to testify for the Joint Parliamentary Committee and BJP members of the panel like Yashwant Sinha had said that his version of events could not be ignored because Mr Raja claimed that he had informed the PM and the Finance Minister of his policies.