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The impasse over how to investigate the 2G telecom scam – JPC or not




For many days now, there has been an ongoing debate in Parliament over the investigation into the 2G scam. Actually, the term debate is being very loosely applied, since there is a huge turmoil in Parliament on every working day and there has been no legislative business that can be transacted. The issue is only 1 – the opposition (primarily the Left and the BJP) want to have a JPC to lead a probe into the entire 2G scam, while the Congress wants to deny the possibility of a JPC probe and with the discussion being held under the auspices of a PAC related investigation, something that the Opposition denies totally and this has led to a total impasse in Parliament. The Congress seems to be on the backfoot, since this is a corruption matter dealing with a huge amount of money that has been waylaid due to the actions taken by a minister in the Congress Government, and on which the media, the CAG, and even the Supreme Court have made pretty sarcastic comments. The case in the Supreme Court has led to the resignation of a minister, the probable resignation of the CVC, the removal of the Solicitor General from the case, and the shifting of the legal advisor to the Telecom Ministry (for his various legal advice to the ministry, as well as for maintaining in an affidavit that the Prime Minister was fully in the knowledge of the doings of the Minister).

Now, the current session of Parliament is supposed to go till the 13th of December, and the Congress seems to have first thought about adjourning the session given that no business is happening, but seems to have reconsidered and decided to let the session go on in the current form (with the thinking being that adjourning the session will give the Congress a bad name). But the Congress seems determined to deny the formation of a Joint Parliamentary Committee to do the investigation into the whole case; the working of the Congress seems to be that the JPC will end up being a political platform in a case where the Congress already seems to have been adjudged as guilty in public opinion. Combine this with the torture that the Government has already suffered due to the Adarsh housing society and the ongoing investigations of corruptions in the spending for the Commonwealth Games, and the Congress is becoming much more sensitive to its lowered image in terms of corruption.
If a JPC is currently formed, the calculation seems to be that even though the head of the JPC will from the Congress, it will not be in a majority (with some of the members being from the Samajwadi Party and the BSP, both of whom will not be the least bit hesitant in demanding their pound of flesh from the Congress). And of course, since the JPC will claim to have the highest level of authority, it would be very easy for the JPC to call even the Prime Minister for questioning and ask him all the inconvenient questions about why he did not bother to stop the Telecom minister when he was setting the various policies that caused such a huge harm to the Government.




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