A parliamentary committee that has turned into a war zone between the Congress and the opposition today is set to get an extension until the end of next Parliament session - the monsoon session. The 30-member committee has conducted an inquest of the telecom or 2G scam with differing conclusions.
The Lok Sabha today unanimously adopted a resolution for the Joint Parliamentary Committee's (JPC) extension. After the Rajya Sabha adopts the motion, likely to be moved tomorrow, the term of the JPC will be extended till the end of the Monsoon session.
This will be the fifth extension to the JPC set up in March, 2011. The term of the committee was scheduled to end on May 10.
The divide within the JPC has been a major cause of the paralysis in Parliament all of last week, and then again today.
The opposition members on the committee want its chairman, Congressman PC Chacko, to be sacked because he has absolved the Prime Minister and Finance Minister P Chidambaram of any responsibility for the 2G scam. They also say he has unfairly refused to let A Raja from the DMK testify for the committee, though Mr Chacko's report, leaked to the media earlier this month, indicts the politician.
After numerous offers to depose were turned down, Mr Raja last week sent a lengthy note in his defense to the committee in which he says the PM and Finance Minister were privy to the decisions he took as Telecom Minister in 2008 while allocating cheap network licenses and second-generation or 2G airwaves.
Mr Chacko has said that Mr Raja cannot meet the committee because its term expires by the end of the budget session and if he is called other telecom ministers during the period will have to be called.
After the opposition's 15 members collectively demanded his removal last month, his party retaliated by asking for three of the BJP's six MPs on the committee to be dismissed because of a "conflict of interest." The Congress said these law-makers - Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha and Ravi Shankar Prasad - took important decisions on telecom when the NDA, the coalition led by their party, was in power.