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PAC meets to finalise 2G report


New Delhi : Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Thursday met to finalise its report on the allocation of 2G spectrum with members of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and the opposition divided over the panel’s criticism of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The 22-member committee, headed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Murli Manohar Joshi, met at the Parliament House complex at 11 a.m.

The leaders broke for lunch at 2 p.m. and will reconvene at 4 p.m.

The members coming out of the meeting said the proceedings were cordial and all parties presented their respective points of view. However, they refused to comment whether the report will be adopted by the panel.

The draft 270-page report, which was circulated among members Wednesday, has criticised Manmohan Singh for giving an “indirect green signal” to former IT and communications minister A. Raja to execute his “unfair and dubious designs” in selling scarce radio waves at throwaway prices.

The report said DMK’s Raja, who is now in jail, revealed “half truth to conceal his ulterior design”.

The report does not hold Manmohan Singh directly responsible for the alleged losses the 2008 sale of telecom licences caused to the nation. However, the prime minister does face criticism in the explosive report that was leaked to the media a day before its likely adoption by the 22-member panel.

It also criticises Home Minister P. Chidambaram, who was then finance minister, saying the committee was “shocked and dismayed” to note that in his note Feb 15, 2008, he acknowledged that spectrum price should be based on its scarcity value and efficiency of usage.

DMK’s Tiruchi Siva said that Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) are with the government indicating that if voting takes place then the committee will be equally divided.

The panel has seven Congress members, two from the DMK and one each from the Samajwadi Party and BSP.

Congress members K.S.S Rao, Saifuddin Soz, Naveen Jindal and K. Sudhakaran, as well as the DMK, have come out in the open to slam the draft report of the PAC and asked for Joshi’s resignation.