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Joint Parliamentary Committees and what they achieved

Business Standard  |  New Delhi 

The record shows that the outcome of Parliament’s earlier JPCs has been quite disappointing on both, establishing what had happened and in identifying and punishing those culpable

Bofors (1987)
A joint Parliamentary committee was set up into the allegation that someone in the Congress had accepted bribes to buy the Bofors ‘shoot and scoot’ guns. Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister and the Opposition alleged the trail went to him. The Opposition campaign was strengthened when finance minister V P Singh joined forces with them and quit the Congress. Finally after regular disruption of Parliament, when the government finally did accept the Opposition demand for a JPC, the Opposition parties boycotted the committee on the grounds that it was packed by the Congress. The JPC report was laid in parliament but was rejected by the Opposition.

Securities and banking deals (1992)
This JPC was set up in 1992 after allegations were made that ‘big bull’ Harshad Mehta had diverted funds from public sector Maruti Udyog Limited (MUL) to his own accounts, and had been unable to square accounts, provoking a record 570-point fall in the Sensex. It was only in October 1997 that the Special Court set up to hear the securities scandal-related cases could approve prosecution on 34 charges brought by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). CBI in all filed 72 sets of charges relating to criminal offences, while 600-odd civil cases proceeded alongside. Of these, so far convictions have been secured only in the case of four. In September 1999, Mehta received a four-year sentence for defrauding MUL. But the recommendations of the JPC were neither accepted in full nor implemented.

Share market scam (2001)
Ahmedabad-based cooperative bank, Madhavpura Mercantile Cooperative Bank (MMCB), faced a run on its deposits because of heavy exposure to the stock markets. MMCB had a big exposure to the stock market through Ketan Parekh. The bank, in collusion with Ketan Parekh, issued pay orders without the backing of sufficient funds. Ketan Parekh, in turn, used this money to rig up the prices of shares. This nexus went unnoticed for almost a year but was broken when MCCB failed to honour the pay orders that it had issued. A JPC was ordered, which recommended sweeping changes in stock market regulations. However, many were diluted later.

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First Published: Wed, November 17 2010. 01:06 IST