You are here: Home » Economy & Policy » News
Business Standard

JPC meet from tomorrow amid Cong-BJP spat

Sanjay Jog  |  Mumbai 

Amid controversy over the finance ministry’s note to the Prime Minister’s office (PMO) on awarding licences for 2G spectrum in 2008, a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) is holding a two-day meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The JPC secretariat, in its communication to the finance ministry, has already sought a copy of the latter’s March 25 note to the PMO. The letter implies that former finance minister P Chidambaram, now the home minister, could have averted the awarding of 2G licences in 2008 at the price determined in 2001.

The committee, headed by Lok Sabha member P C Chacko, is mandated to inquire into the telecom licencing policy and the 2G spectrum scam.

The JPC meeting also assumes significance at a time when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has come in the strong defence of Chidambaram and finance minister Pranab Mukherjee while ruling out the Opposition’s demand for Chidambaram’s resignation.

“The issue will certainly come up for discussion, as the JPC secretariat has already asked the finance ministry to submit the concerned note,” a JPC member, who did not want to be identified, told Business Standard.

The committee would continue to cross-examine the former chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), M S Verma, who headed the regulator between March 2000 and March 2003, when the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was in power.

Verma had already told JPC that the NDA government did not seek the opinion of the telecom regulator on the issue of allocating “excess spectrum” to some private companies in 2002.

While Trai has the powers to make recommendations on its own accord to the government, it did not do so.

Chacko had already revealed that during Verma’s three-year tenure, Trai did not make any suo motu recommendations to the government on any issue. JPC would also continue questioning of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) during the meeting, the committee member said.

CBI has already informed JPC that it has so far seized 59 files of access service cell, 25 files of wireless, planning and coordination wing of the department of communications and carried out searches under section 165 of the Criminal Procedure Code at 21 places which include office premises of the various companies which got the letter of intent for unified access services licences. The documents and files collected during investigation run into more than 100,000 pages and numerous witnesses had also been examined, he added.

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Mon, September 26 2011. 00:07 IST