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Telecom, spectrum JPC
'The Emperor Is Without Clothes'
The government stands exposed. Even a Parliamentary cover-up through a JPC will not save it of the embarrassment.
COMMENTS PRINT

The Parliament had appointed a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to examine the matter of allocation and pricing of telecom and spectrum. 

The report of the JPC, approved by a slender majority, was laid on the table of Rajya Sabha today. The conduct of the Congress party and the UPA government makes it clear that they have failed to learn the lessons from the results of the recently held assembly elections. 

The strategy is to first indulge in acts of corruption and then subvert constitutional institutions in order to cover them up.

The principal issues that the JPC had to examine were with regard to:

  1. Whether Spectrum allocated in 2008 could be given at 2001 prices?
  2. Whether the goalposts could be shifted in relation to the procedure by which the Spectrum had to be allocated?
  3. Whether the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister were in the know of and privy to the decisions taken by the then Telecom Minister?

The Majority Report bypasses most of these issues. On the contrary it has devoted large sections of the Report to blame the NDA government. Obviously, the report will carry no credibility. The JPC, which went into the Bofors Case invented a theory that commissions paid to the middlemen were not kickbacks but winding-up charges. The CBI charge sheet negated this theory. The Parliamentary Committee, which went into the Cash-for-Vote scam blamed the opposition MPs. The trial court has now held that they were whistleblowers and had committed no offence. If we want that the dignity of the Parliamentary institutions be maintained, we must ensure that the truth surfaces and not be covered up.

The note of dissent given by the opposition MPs to the chairman of the Telecom JPC has been edited. Today, I raised an issue in the Rajya Sabha, whether the Chairman of the Committee can only edit superfluous or un-parliamentary references made in a note of dissent, or can he change the substance of the dissent note that was submitted? By doing so, the chairman has committed a breach of privilege. I invited a ruling from the chair on this issue. Regrettably no ruling came.

The only consolation I have is that the government stands exposed. The Emperor is without clothes. Even a Parliamentary cover-up through a JPC will not save it of the embarrassment.


Arun Jaitley is Leader of opposition, Rajya Sabha

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