Former Telecommunication Minister A. Raja has written a protest letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar for the non-inclusion of his written statement in the final report submitted by the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on the 2G Spectrum allocation issue to her on October 29.
In a letter dated November 6, 2013, sent to Ms. Kumar, he said: “I would urge you to return the report to the (JPC) Chairman and direct him to re-submit it after including my written statement”.
However, JPC Chairman and Congress MP from Thrissur P.C. Chacko told The Hindu over phone that there were no precedents or the parliamentary rules and procedures that allowed the Speaker to return the report and seek its re-submission. The report, approved by the majority members, was prepared in a meticulous way after following all the rules and procedures of the parliament, and if Mr. Raja or any other member had grievances about the report they could very well give notices and seek discussion on the report in the parliament after it was tabled. It was the decision of the majority members in the JPC not to call Mr. Raja for deposition or allow his written statement to be a part of the final report, Mr. Chacko said.
Mr. Raja, in his letter to Ms. Kumar, claimed that the report was “half-baked and half-hearted effort that takes the matter no further and is indeed a disservice to the Parliament”.
Mr. Raja, who was elected from the Nilgiris Constituency in Tamil Nadu on a DMK ticket, recalled that in his February 22, 2013, letter to the Speaker he had said that as the Minister for Communication from May 2007 to November 2010, he was best placed to explain the policy and rationale of the government behind the issuance of Unified Access Services (UAS) licenses and grant of Spectrum, as well as the sequence of events and the role of various individuals and institutions (in 2G Spectrum allocation).
“I had requested that I should be called as a witness to the JPC to tender my evidence. Thereafter, I also took up the matter with the JPC Chairman. Unfortunately, despite my several requests – and the requests of several members of the JPC – the Chairman refused to permit me to depose before the Committee”.
“I had thereafter submitted a detailed written statement, in which I had specifically expressed that ‘I trust that it will be a part of the report to be given’. My trust could not have been breached in a worse manner. Indeed, the final report of the JPC does not even mention my written statement. Thus, the JPC that was to bring out the truth, has chosen to hide behind falsehoods”, he alleged.
The DMK MP also accused Mr. Chacko of adopting a “partisan and political role” and of ensuring “a report that was more political than parliamentarian in character”.
He claimed that in the Minute of Dissent (MoD) by the MPs belonging to the BJP, his written statement had been repeatedly referred to and relied upon. It was evident that his written statement forms an integral part of MoD. Despite such clear and unambiguous MoD, the JPC Chairman had chosen to exclude his written statement. “I now understand that the Chairman of the JPC made his intentions clear when he refused to let me depose before the Committee”.
However, “I believe it can be safely said that the credibility of the JPC has touched new depths when the Chairman chose to exclude my written statement from the Report. It is nothing but an act of cowardice, intended solely to prevent the truth from being known”, Mr. Raja alleged.
CPI Lok Sabha member and JPC member Gurudas Das Gupta supported Mr. Raja’s letter to the Speaker by stating that though he (Mr. Raja) was an accused in the 2G Spectrum scam, still his opinion and views must have been part of the JPC‘s report. Mr. Gupta told The Hindu that he too would be writing a letter to the Speaker referring about the “inadequacies” in the JPC’s final report despite availability of fresh evidences.
Meanwhile, informed sources said the second volume of the JPC report, consisting of annexures that included details of the minutes of every meeting of the Committee, has been kept in the parliamentary library for the elected members to go through. It was really a voluminous one making it highly impossible to circulate volume 2 to every member, they said.