New Delhi, June 19 (IANS) The Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC), probing the 2G spectrum scam, saw heated exchanges between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members over calling former telecom minister A. Raja and Attorney-General G.E. Vahanvati among others as witnesses.
BJP members wanted Raja, Vahanvati, Dayanidhi Maran and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's principal secretary Pulok Chatterjee to be called as witnesses, which the Congress members opposed.
Sources said the Congress members in the JPC countered the BJP's move by saying if the opposition went on picking witnesses like this, the panel would have to go back to the NDA rule in 1998 and call Brajesh Mishra, then principal secretary to former prime minister A.B. Vajpayee, and the then attorney-general Soli Sorabjee besides the BJP leaders who were then telecom ministers.
The panel consists of 20 Lok Sabha and 10 Rajya Sabha members. It was formed on March 4, 2011, to probe the telecom policy of the governments since 1998 to 2009. The Congress has 10 members, the BJP has five and one is from the Janata Dal-United.
Some members were of the view that the panel should start writing the report, and only need to call Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), law and finance ministry officials as witnesses. But BJP leader Yashwant Sinha wanted some political persons also to be called as witnesses, said sources.
JPC chairman P.C. Chacko, a Congress MP, wanted to interrogate former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, who was jailed along with Raja.
The sources said there were heated arguments between the Congress, the BJP and the Left members on the issue, after which Chacko was authorised to compile an exhaustive list of witnesses to be called before the JPC.
The members also debated when the panel should start writing the report.