Let parliament function, Pranab tells opposition


New Delhi : Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Friday asked opposition parties, who have been stalling parliamentary proceedings over the telecom spectrum scandal, to allow work to resume and added that he was not opposed to an investigation.

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“I am deeply concerned about the situation which is being created where parliament cannot transact its business. Therefore my appeal to all political parties is that please try to find a solution,” Mukherjee told reporters on the sidelines of an event to celebrate the 105th anniversary of Canara Bank.

Both houses of parliament were adjourned till Monday as they could not function for the sixth day Friday with opposition MPs persisting with their demand for a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) to probe the 2G spectrum allotment scam.

Parliament has practically not functioned since the winter session began Nov 9 with the opposition demanding a JPC probe.

On being asked if the government would give in to the opposition’s demand, the finance minister said: “When I oppose JPC, or government opposes JPC, it is not that the matter should not be investigated.”

For the past six days, the opposition has been demanding a JPC probe into improper allocation of 2G frequencies to telecom companies by former telecom minister and DMK leader A. Raja that is estimated to have cost the exchequer Rs.176,000 crore (Rs.1.76 trillion/nearly $40 billion).

The government has not responded to the demand inside the house.

“I will appeal to the members of the opposition… please do not obstruct proceedings of the house. Accept the proposition that CAG report on 2G will be examined by the PAC (public accounts committee). Let them examine it. After that we will see what further course of action is needed,” said Mukherjee.