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The PAC indicts a lot of people in the 2G scam, and then in turn, the PAC overthrows its Chairman, Murli Manohar Joshi




It has been a bizarre few days in terms of the investigation into the 2G scam. There are multiple bodies that are doing the investigation, with probably the least result expected from the Parliamentary body, the PAC (the Parliamentary Accounts Committee), which is empowered to look into accounts presented by the Government, and by the CAG. Based on the report by the CAG about a massive scam in the allotment of telecom licenses by the Department under A Raja, the CAG presented a report that showcased a scam of immense proportions. When the PAC started looking into this issue, there was not much of a problem, since it is legally expected to look into reports by the CAG. However, when there was a demand for a JPC, the Congress used the ongoing investigation by the PAC as an example to try and stonewall the demand for a JPC. On the other hand, the opposition (primarily the BJP), pushed for the JPC as a means to embarrass the UPA, mainly because they were refusing the demand for the JPC. Finally, after the Congress agreed to the JPC, which would be headed by a Congress member and where the majority would be from the UPA Government (plus semi friendly parties such as the BSP and the SP), it started pushing back on the activities of the PAC.

On the other hand, the PAC, under the chairmanship of Murli Manohar Joshi (since the chairman of the PAC is typically an opposition MP, from the Lok Sabha, nominated by the main opposition party) pushed hard to get PAC completed within the timeline of April 30, since that is the date by when the current PAC membership was valid (after that date, the PAC would be re-constituted, and any investigation would need to be re-scheduled). The PAC moved into more dangerous territory (in terms of the Congress atleast), since it called people closer to the Prime Minister and the PMO, such as the Cabinet Secretary and others. At this, the Congress went into panic and decided to start blocking the PAC, and hence, the last set of witnesses were prevented from giving their testimony. This of course did not stop Murli Manohar Joshi, and the report of the PAC came out before the end of the period, and this was a report that the Congress would have wanted to avoid.
The report was an absolute condemnation of the activities of all concerned, of course blaming Raja for whatever happened. However, it also heavily criticized the Government for no checks and balances, criticized the PM for not doing anything to stop the loot, and also criticized the then Finance Minister Chidambaram for his failure to prevent the huge loss to Government finances. The report was highlighted in the media the next day, with the detailed and harsh criticism being cited, causing huge embarrassment to the Government (which was anyhow in the dock, since the media uses the 2G scam to blame the Government for everything that has happened).
So, a cover up was required. The Government cobbled together a majority in the PAC (using the support of the UP parties, the BSP and SP (which have their own compulsions to support the Congress)) and decided to not allow the passing of the report, and they dutifully did not allow the passing of the report, which was however passed by Murli Manohar Joshi to the office of the speaker, where the decision on the report is now pending, and which remains a tricky matter.




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