Pranab Mukherjee: PM did not consult us on PAC offer

Kolkata/New Delhi, Jan 2 (Calcutta Tube/IBNS) Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday said the Prime Minister should not have volunteered to appear before the Public Accounts Commitee (PAC) of Parliament in the 2G spectrum scam and the latter did it on his own without any consultation.

Speaking here, the senior Congress leader said: “The PM took the decision without even consulting us. I would have advised him not to make such an offer because I believe in following parliamentary system and I am a conservative on the matter.”

“The ministers do not come before the parliamentary committees because they are responsible to the entire Lok Sabha or the assembly. They are ministers because they are in majority and so they are accountable to the whole house and not just a section of it (which represent the Opposition),” said Mukherjee, ruling out a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe demanded by the Opposition.

He said the way the Opposition stalled the Parliament was unprecedented and it is wrong that the government has not acted against corruption since agencies are probing the allegations.

Media reports meanwhile said the Congress has discussed at a meeting of the it core group in New Delhi in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi to fast-track the probes into the various scams that were cited by the Opposition to attack the government.

Earlier on Sunday morning, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) stuck to its demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the 2G spectrum scam after meeting at the residence of senior BJP leader L K Advani.

The NDA, which met to discuss the outcomes of the meetings of opposition leaders like L K Advani and Sushma Swaraj with the Speaker (Meira Kumar) and the government (to end the deadlock in Parliament) said it would continue to fight for corruption and press for a JPC.

“Both meetings had same result. Advaniji and Sushmaji were called and they both advocated JPC. In yesterday’s meeting also, all parties demanded JPC,” said NDA convenor Sharad Yadav on Sunday referring to the efforts of Speaker Meira Kumar.

“We all want Parliament session to be held and corruption is not the only issue. Price rise is an issue too,” said Yadav, informing the opposition’s resolve to stick to JPC on the 2G scam.

Indian Parliament was deadlocked in the winter session last year over the demand for a JPC into the 2G spectrum scam while the ruling Congress said the probe by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament headed by an Opposition leader (Murli Manohar Joshi) was enough besides the investigations by agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

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