With the support of outside allies BSP and SP and absence of JD(U) members, Government today managed to have its way in the JPC on 2G scam when the panel approved the draft report giving clean chit to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram with a 16-11 vote in its favour.
Eleven opposition members, including BJP's 5 and one each of BJD, TMC, CPI, CPI(M), AIADMK and DMK voted against the Joint Parliamentary Committee report that accused former Telecom Minister A Raja of "misleading" the Prime Minister and "belying" the assurances given to him.
Of the total 30 members in the committee, three members, including Gopinath Munde from BJP, and Sharad Yadav and Ramchandra Prasad Singh - both JD (U) - were absent.
Out of the 27 present, the ruling side got the votes of Congress (11), NCP (one), BSP (2), SP (1) and Nominated member from Rajya Sabha Ashok Ganguly. Panel chief P C Chacko also voted as a Congress member.
NCP member Y P Trivedi was not present in the committee room when votes were being cast. He later gave Chacko a written statement supporting the draft report.
Attacking the outcome, BJP leader and member of the committee Yashwant Sinha said a contrived majority has been "unashamedly" used to adopt a report based on "wrong facts, falsehood and prejudicial" findings without the consideration of the Committee.
"Government will be asked to table an action taken report on the JPC findings within three months of its presentation to the Speaker," Chacko told reporters after the meeting.
In a meeting which lasted a little over one hour, Chacko overruled shrill demands by opposition members to adopt the report after "more consultations".
Those who pressed for more discussions included DMK's T R Baalu, CPI's Gurudas Dasgupta and Sinha.
Members who wish to give dissent notes on the report, which rubbished the loss figure of Rs 1.76 lakh crore estimated by CAG and termed it as "ill conceived", have been given time till October 10.
Chacko said after going through the dissent notes, he will submit the report to Speaker Meira Kumar by October end as Parliament will not be in session then.
The report will be tabled in the Winter session of Parliament.
Replying to questions, he rejected suggestions that he personally canvassed with members from other political parties to support the draft report.
On demands by opposition members to further discuss the matter, Chacko said doubts were raised by some members and suggestions were made to delay the adoption. But long deliberations were not a practical solution so I went by the sense of the house as majority members wanted the report to be adopted in toto," he said.
The report, which was circulated among members in April also accuses Raja of forging the press note of January 7, 2008 after it was seen by the then Solicitor General G E Vahanvati.
"The Committee wish to point out that the procedure" regarding the First-Come-First-Served (FCFS) criteria was a "misrepresentation of facts and in tactic deviation from the existing procedure," it says.
Baalu later said the JPC deliberately missed out on important documents to paint Raja in a bad light. His stand was supported by Dasgupta who said Raja was projected as a "villain" and others as "angels descended from the heaven".
He also alleged that deliberate attempts were made to sideline key witnesses "whose presence and deposition would have enlightened the committee more than what were are today."
While giving sequence of events leading to allocation of 2G spectrum, the report says, "The Committee is inclined to conclude that the Prime Minister was misled about the procedure decided to be followed by the Department of Telecommunications in respect of issuance of UAS licences.
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