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Apr 18, 2013 at 11:07pm IST

2G case: JPC gives clean chit to PM, P Chidambaram; holds Raja guilty

New Delhi: The Joint Parliamentary Committee on the 2G spectrum scam on Thursday gave a clean chit to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram, saying that the duo was not informed of the change in policy by the then telecom minister A Raja.

The JPC report said that the 2G spectrum was allocated on 'first come, first serve' policy and that norms were tweaked to favour a few companies.

The JPC said that the PM and Chidambaram played no role in tweaking the norms and that it was A Raja who changed the rules without informing the PM. The report accused Raja of misleading the Prime Minister.

The JPC also criticised the CAG report on 2G spectrum auction and the Rs 1.76 lakh loss figure it had cited. The JPC said that the figure was "ill conceived". "The government policies cannot be subject to audit," it added.

The JPC also said that the government should take a fresh look at the issue of spectrum pricing.

The report of the JPC, although ready, has not been formally adopted. For that to happen, the government needs the support of 16 out of the 30 members that are part of the JPC. The UPA currently has 12 members. Sources say that the JD(U) with two members, may support the UPA. The SP and BSP too are being canvassed for support, the sources said.

Recently, the Bharatiya Janata Party had hit out at JPC Chairman PC Chacko for "protecting PM" and not calling Raja to depose.

BJP leader Yashwant Sinha had demanded that Raja be called to depose as he was equally culpable as the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister in the case.

"Raja has written to the JPC to say that if he is guilty, so are the PM and the FM. Raja's testimony will cause a lot of problems for both the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister, that is why he isn't being called by the JPC," Yashwant Sinha said.

The Congress hit back saying that the JPC could take its own call. "I haven't read Yashwant Sinha's letter. There are BJP members in the JPC, they can put their views before the JPC themselves. The PM has nothing to do with the JPC. The JPC can take its own decisions," Congress leader rashid Alvi said.

Earlier, Sinha had written to the Prime Minister asking him to appear before the JPC. Citing former Raja's communication to JPC, Sinha had asked the PM to appear before the committee to 'clear his name' following allegations levelled against him.

In his letter, Sinha said any hesitation on his part to appear before JPC will prove that he has "something to hide". Sinha pointed out that when Parliament's Public Accounts Committee was examining the CAG report on the 2G scam, the Prime Minister had publicly offered to appear before it to enable the committee reach the "right conclusions".

"You have not made a similar offer to the JPC despite the fact that many members of the JPC have publicly demanded that you appear before the JPC," Sinha wrote. He claimed that in his communications to the JPC, Raja had levelled "serious allegations" against the Prime Minister and Finance Minister P Chidambaram.

"I think it is in your own personal interest to appear before the JPC and clear your name. You may also suggest the Finance Minister to make a similar offer," he said.

(With additional information from PTI)

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