2G case: JPC gives clean chit to PM, Chidambaram

NEW DELHI (TIP): The Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on the 2G spectrum scam in its draft report on April 17 sought to give a clean chit to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram, saying then telecom minister A Raja had failed to keep them in the loop about changes made in the policy.

According to sources, the draft report, which is yet to be approved by members, said the norms for allocation of spectrum under the “first-come-first-served” policy were tweaked at the last minute to enable a few companies to jump the queue, and neither Singh or Chidambaram played any role in this. Raja reportedly changed the rules without informing the PM.

A news agency quoted the report as saying that “the committee is inclined to conclude that the PM was misled about the procedure decided to be followed by the Department of Telecommunications in respect of issuance of UAS licences.” It added that the “assurance” given by Raja “in all his correspondence with the PM to maintain full transparency in following established rules and procedures of the department stood belied”. Sources said the draft report also rubbished the loss figure of Rs 1.76 lakh crore estimated by CAG, saying it was “ill-conceived”.

JPC chairman P C Chacko has to get the backing of a majority of the 30 members of the committee to carry through the draft report. The UPA has 12 members on the panel. Meanwhile, DMK spokesperson T K S Elangovan said: “If the JPC makes any charges against Raja without hearing him and calling him for deposition, then the report will be incomplete and biased. It will be a one-sided report.”

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