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JPC chairman P.C. Chacko. Photo: PTI (PTI)
JPC chairman P.C. Chacko. Photo: PTI

JPC may seek extension until monsoon session

Committee to meet on Tuesday; draft report likely to be adopted with minor changes, addition of dissent notes

New Delhi: The Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) inquiring into second-generation (2G) spectrum allocation irregularities, which has been deadlocked over political differences, may meet on Tuesday to seek an extension beyond the current budget session.

The committee’s controversial draft report, which opposition members have objected to for letting top government functionaries off the hook, is also likely to be adopted with some minor changes and the addition of dissent notes.

JPC chairman P.C. Chacko, who has been at the receiving end of the opposition’s ire, said the committee will meet on Tuesday to discuss a resolution seeking an extension and the draft report will be debated later. The JPC is expected to seek an extension until the monsoon session of Parliament that’s likely to begin at the end of July.

“Those who are opposing can suggest some minor amendments and there can be dissent notes also. The committee had authorized me to prepare the draft report, so there is no question of calling new witnesses," Chacko, who belongs to the ruling Congress party, said when asked whether former telecom minister A. Raja would be called by the JPC to present his version of the events.

Raja has demanded that he be allowed to appear before the committee. His Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party and the Samajwadi Party have backed his demand. The DMK recently pulled out of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government over an unrelated issue.

According to a person familiar with the development, the committee will take up the controversial report at a later meeting, perhaps on 8 May. The report has absolved both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and finance minister P. Chidambaram of any wrongdoing.

“If the opposition still do not accept the report despite the amendments and the dissent notes, it can be adopted on a vote," the person said.

The principal opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has cited the JPC chairman’s “partisan" report as one of the reasons behind its decision not to cooperate with the government in Parliament.

Although the BJP, Left parties, DMK and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) have publicly rejected the report in its current form, Congress and senior ministers seem to be confident that the BJP’s demand to reject the JPC report completely will be defeated.

“If the JPC’s report is completely rejected, it will be equivalent to the rejection of the 2G probe by Parliament because this is the only probe report," a senior Congress leader said, requesting anonymity.

“There are members in the opposition who do not want the rejection of the JPC report," he added.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist has already indicated that it would like add a note of dissent and is against throwing out the probe report.

In the 30-member panel, the Congress has 11 members and the BJP has six while the Bahujan Samaj Party, DMK and the Janata Dal-United have two members each. The TMC, Biju Janata Dal, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Nationalist Congress Party, Communist Party of India and CPM have one member each.

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