The Joint Parliamentary Committee looking into the 2G spectrum allocation and pricing Friday adopted its controversial draft report that gives a clean chit to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram.
Although this was expected, given UPA’s numerical strength in the panel, the passage indicated changing political equations. The two JD(U) members in the panel were absent while the SP voted with the UPA despite the chill in its ties with the Congress after the Muzaffarnagar riots.
The absence of the two JD(U) members — Sharad Yadav and Ramchandra Prasad Singh — from Friday’s meet incidentally came a day after the Raghuram Rajan committee ranked Bihar as the second most backward state, making a case for more central support.
With the BSP and SP, which have three members in the panel, backing the UPA, the ruling side managed to get the draft report adopted with a 16-11 vote.
Interestingly, BJP’s Gopinath Munde too was absent. Sources in the BJP could not give a credible explanation about his absence, but argued “one should not read too much into his absence”.
The JPC report accuses former telecom minister A Raja of misleading the Prime Minister. It is also critical of the decisions taken by the previous NDA government to grant concessions to telecom operators over non-recovery of “huge amount” of licence fee despite opposition by then telecom minister Jagmohan.
“The committee is 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.... Communications and Information Technology in all his correspondence with the Prime Minister to maintain full transparency in following established rules and procedures of the Department stood belied,” the report said, blaming Raja.
Opposition members in the panel slammed chairman P C Chacko and the ruling side. Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said a contrived majority has been “unashamedly” used to adopt a report based on “wrong facts, falsehood and prejudicial” findings without the consideration of the committee.
Chacko, on his part, said, the government will be asked to table an action taken report on the