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Parliament Ill-Equipped To Probe 2G Spectrum Scam: Bansal

Chandigarh, Dec 4: Government today said Parliament was "ill-equipped" to probe 2G Spectrum allocation and ruled out adjourning sine die the winter session of the House ahead of its scheduled end due to the logjam
PTI December 04, 2010 22:33 IST
Chandigarh, Dec 4: Government today said Parliament was "ill-equipped" to probe 2G Spectrum allocation and ruled out adjourning sine die the winter session of the House ahead of its scheduled end due to the logjam over the opposition demand for JPC into the scam.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said the question of accepting JPC does not arise and termed the opposition demand only a "political battle".

"Their (the Opposition) demand for JPC is a political battle. They want to have a political weapon in their hands, which we will not allow," Bansal told reporters here this evening.

He alleged the Opposition wanted to paralyse Parliament and destabilise the government.

"They want to create a situation where the government cannot take policy decisions and implement them," he said, adding "Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who heads 30 GoMs and many EGoMs, has not been able to take meetings for a long time and even I (as Union Water Resources Minister) have not been able to devote time in the wake of Parliament logjam", Bansal said.

Dismissing the demand for JPC as needless, he said government was ready to give even four days for discussion to the Opposition to raise the 2G but they should first let Parliament function.

"JPC will be entirely a political body. There are 37 parties in Parliament and not more than seven parties will be represented in JPC. Is Parliament a representative body or JPC. No creation of Parliament can be above Parliament itself," he said.

Bansal said the opposition says that "we want to investigate (the 2G issue) but JPC cannot probe. It is the government agencies like CBI, Income Tax Department and other agencies which can do that. Parliament is ill-equipped to investigate".

Bansal said Parliament's winter session would not be suspended in the wake of the logjam and would continue till December 13. It was "unfortunate the MPs were not behaving responsibly", he added.

Bansal said it looks unlikely that the opposition will let Parliament function in the present winter session.

He said while financial loss caused by Parliament logjam was not important "what is sad is that 22 legislations, including those pertaining to the Land Acquisition, Women's Reservation, sexual harassment, inter-state cooperative societies will be delayed and key issues of public importance cannot be raised".

Training his guns on opposition lawmakers, he said each MP now gets a daily sitting allowance of Rs 2,000 but they were not willing to come and discuss the issues.

"While 225 of our MPs have decided to forego this allowance and our Ministers are also willing to forego the daily allowances they get during the session, the opposition MPs are happily claiming these benefits even though they were not ready to let the House function," Bansal said.

The Parliamentary Affairs Minister said that before the start of the winter session last month, the Opposition had given a list of 20 issues, including the 2G issue, which they wanted to take up in Parliament, "but now they are not willing to talk on even one".

Bansal said "17 working days and almost a month had been lost as Parliament had not functioned".

"We don't want to keep anything under the carpet or hide anything. Rather, in the present times, one cannot hide anything. Nothing can be hidden from the public or Parliament. But JPC is not a solution," he said.

Bansal said government had maintained that Public Accounts Committee should go into the 2G issue and added the Committee was headed by senior BJP leader M M Joshi.

"Even Joshi had earlier said that the Committee (PAC) is adequate to look into that matter, though at the same time he also toed the party line on JPC," he said.

Bansal said that till date four JPCs had been constituted on various issues, including Bofors, and there was no need for one on the 2G Spectrum allocation issue. PTI