There was an apparent split in the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee meeting in New Delhi on Thursday as eleven members of the committee dismissed the 2G Spectrum draft report circulated by its chairperson Murli Manohar Joshi.
As soon as the members met seven congress, two DMK and apparently one each from SP and BSP collectively rejected the report and said that chairperson Murli Manohar Joshi acted with malafide intention.
For over three hours, these MPs sought to put the Chairman on the mat, accusing him of presenting a “one-sided” report with “malafide” intention and demanded his resignation.
It was trouble from the word go in the PAC meeting, the last before its term expires on Saturday, with Congress and DMK attacking the draft, with each of them saying it had been prepared by Joshi with a “malafide” intention of destabilising the government.The UPA members alleged that Joshi had “outsourced” the drafting of the report.
Joshi, who was keen on pushing the report, sensed trouble but allowed the 11 MPs to have their say turn.
The ruling MPs, who had come with a strategy, insisted in writing that the report be rejected and a vote be taken.
In identical written request, the 11 MPs, including SP and BSP, said “I vote to reject the draft report circulated by the Chairman, PAC, on recent developments on allocation of 2G and 3G spectrum.”
Finding the going tough, Joshi adjourned the meeting for lunch at around 2 PM and fixed the next session at 4 PM.
As soon as the meeting re-convened, senior Congress leader Saifuddin Soz moved a resolution demanding that the Chairman’s draft be rejected.
He pressed for a vote on it and was supported by other MPs from Congress and DMK as also from the SP and BSP.
There was pandemonium as both sides exchanged heated words and the meeting ended abruptly within a few moments.
In unprecedented dramatic scenes, 11 members of the UPA and BSP and SP held their own meeting and “elected” Soz as their “Chairman for the sitting”.
They also “unanimously” passed the “resolution” rejecting the draft report.
In the midst of claims and counter claims, there was further drama when Soz went to Joshi’s office in Parliament House and left in office the “resolution” that was “passed”.
Congress MPs claimed that Soz was “elected Chairman” for the proceedings as the Joshi had “run away”, not acceding to their request for putting the resolution to vote.
As per the rules, the Chairman of any Financial Committee is appointed by the Speaker and it has to be from a member from Lok Sabha.
Soz is a member of the Rajya Sabha.
“It was a piquant situation. The Chairman ran away,” said Soz, adding further steps would be taken in consultation with the Speaker and according to the norms and provisions of democracy and Constitution.
A visibly agitated Joshi questioned the sanctity of the proceedings after he had “adjourned” the meeting, saying there “cannot be any voting” in the absence of proper proceedings.
He said members had levelled allegations that the writing of the draft was “outsourced” and he had promised to “look into” these.
“In our view, the Joshi report stands rejected…This matter comes to an end,” Bansal said, adding “now all eyes are on the JPC.”
Queried whether Joshi could take up the 2G issue again in the next PAC if he again becomes the Chairman for the second term, Bansal said it may not be possible.