BJP ends boycott of JPC on 2G; insists on calling PM, FM
BJP members today ended their nearly three-month boycott of the Joint Parliamentary Committee but stuck to their demand of calling Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as a witness to examine his role in the 2G spectrum allocation, a demand rejected by panel chief P C Chacko.
However, a decision on their demand to call Finance Minister P Chidambaram as a witness will be taken at a later stage. Their demand is also supported by CPM which has said that it is not too keen in calling the Prime Minister.
The "special meeting" will also decide on calling other former Finance ministers Yashwant Sinha and Jaswant Singh as witnesses - both members of the JPC, sources said.
The meeting is likely to held in December after the committee ends questioning the present batch of witnesses, which include Attorney General G E Vahanvati and some telecom operators.
Citing lack of precedent, Chacko has "completely ruled out" calling the Prime Minister as a witness. "It is out of question to call the Prime Minister before the JPC as witness as there is no precedent of calling PMs before JPCs," he had said yesterday.
CPM's Sitaram Yechury has demanded calling the Finance Minister to understand why the Finance Ministry, which had all along insisted to selling 2G spectrum based on market forces, decided to support the DoT's move to allocate radiowaves on first-come-first-served basis.
As soon as today's proceedings began, BJP members led by Sinha and Ravi Shankar Prasad reiterated their demand to call the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister against the backdrop of the deposition by former Cabinet secretary K M Chandrasekhar, sources privy to the deliberations said.
Chandrasekhar had told the Joint Parliamentary Committee that he had written to the Prime Minister suggesting an increase in the license fee for 2G spectrum so that the