Monday, December 20, 2010

Cesar's wife...

Caesar's wife didn't determine who should probe her: BJPFont Size -A
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Agencies
Posted: Dec 20, 2010 at 1455 hrs IST
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New Delhi BJP today dismissed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's offer to appear before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) saying this panel has a limited mandate and that a JPC was required for answering questions even about the formation of the government.

BJP leader Arun Jaitley told reporters that the PM breaking his silence on the 2G spectrum scam was welcome but he cannot choose the forum of his "inquiry".

"The Prime Minister said I have nothing to hide and Caesar's wife should be above suspicion. Caesar's wife never chose the forum of her own inquiry but he has chosen the forum also by saying that he was ready to appear before the PAC," Jaitley contended.

The reaction came after the Prime Minister said he had nothing to hide and was ready to appear before the PAC as the Caesar's wife should always be above suspicion.

On Singh's assertion that he had nothing to hide, Jaitley said, "When he says that, then we would say that there are many things which are still hidden."

The BJP leader said the Government will have to answer many questions like "How was this Government formed, who chose the party which will get the Telecom portfolio and which individual would get the portfolio from that party, who had done that. Was there a role played by the industrial houses and the lobbyists?"

Jaitley said the mandate of PAC is limited as it can only give para-wise comments on the CAG report, which is the internal auditor of the Government of India whereas the issue of 2G spectrum allocation to be probed was "purely political".

"In the last seven years, who buried the Bofors issue, who appointed a tainted person as CVC, who is said to be the Prime Minister's individual choice... we request him that he should answer all these things. This issue can't be dealt by a committee looking into audit reports but only by the Parliament or a JPC formed by it," he said.

On the 2G spectrum issue, he said the government must answer questions as to how a tainted minister was allowed to continue for three years after the reports of the scam came in 2007 and why action was not taken against him.

"All these questions can't be answered before a committee looking into auditor's report. This has be done before that Parliament of India or a JPC appointed by it," Jaitley said.

Welcoming the fact that the PM had “broken his silence" on the 2G spectrum issue, Jaitley said the BJP would request him not to choose the forum for doing so.

"If he believes that he or his government has not done anything wrong, then why is he getting into this PAC vs JPC debate. JPC is a Parliamentary committee and it is its mandate to probe. He should appear before the JPC and the government should give a mandate to the JPC and it should agree for it," he added.

Jaitley said that while inducting seven "tainted" ministers in his Cabinet in 2004, Singh had maintained they were to be presumed not guilty till their guilt was proven. "At that time Manmohan Singh had not said Caesar's wife should be above suspicion," he said.

Claiming that Congress was suffering from "BJP-phobia" and appeared to be on the backfoot, Jaitley said, "A strange situation has emerged as instead of talking about their achievements in the meeting to mark the party's 125 years, they are talking about the BJP."