Unrelenting on its demand for a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe into 2G spectrum scam, Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA on Thursday attackedPrime Minister Manmohan Singh for giving "repeated clean chits" to former telecom minister A. Raja and alleged the government was "scared" of embarrassing truths coming out.
At a press conference, NDA Working Chairman L.K. Advani attacked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, saying he too should be held responsible in the 2G spectrum allocation scam.
"The Prime Minister gave repeated clean chits to A. Raja, the erstwhile telecom minister. He turned a deaf ear to the national hue and cry. Parliament first debated this issue in the Rajya Sabha on July 23, 2009," he said.
He alleged the government was not agreeing to a JPC presumably because it is "scared of embarrassing truths staring it in the face".
"Government is indifferent to the problem of corruption. And if an allegation is likely to reach a high political office, then they become absolutely adamant," he said.
Justifying NDA's insistence on a JPC probe, the senior BJP leader said had the parliamentary stalemate not taken place, Raja would not have resigned.
Advani insisted that though Public Accounts Committee is an important body, it had a limited mandate and hence a JPC probe was needed. He maintained that his colleague and PAC Chairperson Murli Manohar Joshi had been misquoted in a newspaper report on the issue.
"The width and magnitude of the matter involved in the 2G spectrum allotment case are far beyond the scope of the Public Accounts Committee. The CAG is an internal auditor of the Government. It raises various accounting and auditing issues. The PAC confines itself to para-wise observations of CAG. It cannot go beyond the issues which were before CAG," he said.
He said a large number of these issues are not within the purview of PAC. "Some may overlap with JPC but there is nothing new or extraordinary about the limited overlap between two different parliamentary committees," Advani said.
The NDA Working Chairman also mentioned the alleged role of corporate lobbyists in portfolio allotment.
"The 2G Spectrum allotment scam involves wide ranging issues. Why was it necessary that the Telecommunication portfolio was to be allotted only to DMK? Were corporate interests at play that even within DMK that it was to be allotted only to a particular individual to the exclusion of others?" he said.
He also wanted to know if the former telecom minister and his associates were in regular touch with corporate lobbyists while formulating the policy for allotment of 2G Spectrum.
"All these happenings are of a nature which vindicate our stand that government is not serious about corruption," Advani said.