Friday, December 10, 2010

2G inquiry: BJP threatens action, Sibal retaliates

New Delhi:  BJP has threatened to take action against Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal for announcing an inquiry into the 2G controversy at a time when Parliament is in session.

"The general practice is not to make any policy announcement outside the House when Parliament is in session," Senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi told reporters. He said the manner in which Mr Sibal made the announcement "is highly objectionable and may invite a privilege motion."

On Thursday, Mr Sibal announced that a retired Supreme Court judge would investigate procedural lapses in the Telecom Department since 2001, when the BJP-led NDA was in power.

Mr Sibal was unfazed by the BJP's attack. Stressing that the announcement of the inquiry was an administrative order and not a policy-decision, he said, "The BJP's parliamentary privilege is that they will not let parliament run and won't let my ministry run either. I wish the leader of the Opposition had been more thoughtful when he enunciated the law of parliamentary privileges. Vision gets blurred in enunciating the law when one is obsessed with politics."

The 2G controversy has been growing by leaps and bounds everyday. It forced A Raja to resign as Telecom Minister last month, after he was blamed by the government's auditor for a 1.76 lakh crore scam - the result of a spectacularly faulty policy in allocation of 2G spectrum in 2008, according to the auditor's report. Mr Raja's residences have been raided earlier this week; his closest aides have been questioned by the CBI.

Parliament has been paralysed this entire winter session over the politics of the 2G scam. The Opposition wants a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to study the scam.  The government says this is impossible.  Sources say that with key states like Tamil Nadu voting in a few months, the government worries that a JPC will be used by the Opposition to embarrass the government, and to summon the Prime Minister to explain his government's telecom policies. 

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