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Sibal Gives A Spin To Oppn's JPC Demand

PTI 16 Dec 2010, 20:54:15 IST
New Delhi, Dec 16: With the opposition resolute on a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the 2G scam, the government today launched a counter attack, saying such a demand was aimed at skirting investigation into the policy since 2001.

Welcoming the Supreme Court widening the timeline of the probe from 2001-2008 and asking the investigating agencies CBI and ED to file a report on the probe in February, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal said the JPC would not have the mandate to cover the policy prevailing since 2001 -- when the BJP-led NDA was in power.

"Is the opposition demanding a JPC to delay probe into 2G policy since 2001," Sibal asked at a press conference.

Rejecting the opposition demand for a JPC probe, he said with the Supreme Court asking CBI and ED to directly submit the investigation report before it at the next date of hearing, "there is no executive authority between them (as had been alleged by the opposition)."

Earlier in the day, a bench comprising justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly made it clear that the emphasis of the investigation would be to determine the loss of money to the public exchequer and a progress report on the probe has to be filed by the CBI and ED in a sealed cover on the next date of hearing on February 10, 2011.

Sibal contended that JPC, which had no powers to investigate, too would have recommended a probe by the CBI 4 to 6 months down the line and the government had done precisely that now.

He said the probe would look into the role of regulator TRAI, banks and officials of DoT, if any, and asserted that the government has nothing to hide.

On December 15, the CBI raided 34 premises including those of corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, former TRAI Chairman Pradip Baijal, siblings of ex-Telecom Minister A Raja and an NGO linked to DMK MP Kanimozhi in the case relating to allocation of 2G spectrum at throwaway prices in 2008.

The government auditor CAG and CVC had prima facie found irregularities in the allocation of radio waves in 2008 and the potential revenue lost due to selling spectrum at 2001 rates was pegged at Rs 1.76 lakh crore. PTI