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BJP Does a Congress,
Says PM Cannot be Called by Panel
January 13, 2017
After insisting then
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should be summoned for sittings of
the 2G spectrum case by Parliamentary panels, BJP appears to be
doing a volte face now as it gave reasons in the Public Accounts
Committee meeting on Friday to emphasise why Narendra Modi
cannot be asked to depose in the demonetisation issue being
examined by the body.
During the PAC meeting here on Friday, BJP MPs Bhupendra Yadav
and Nishikant Dubey made the point that panel chairperson KV
Thomas has made statements in the press about the possibility of
PM Modi being asked to present himself during discussions on the
effect of the demonetisation move. They cited rules to argue
that the panel is not authorised to call the Prime Minister or
any union minister. The panel later issued a statement which was
in agreement with this view.
“The committee are of the view that …. Direction 99 of
Directions by the (Lok Sabha) Speaker may be referred to wherein
it states that though officials may be called to give evidence
in connection with the examination of the estimates and accounts
relating to a particular ministry, ministers shall not be called
before the committee either to give evidence or consultation…,”
the press statement issued by PAC said.
The statement further said that if considered necessary, then
the PAC chairperson “may have an informal interaction with the
minister” after the panel’s deliberations have been concluded.
Sources said Yadav and Dubey emphasised that the panel is
discussing “monetary policy” and not demonetisation alone.
“They also informed the PAC that only then Agriculture Minister
C Subramaniam was called by the panel in 1966. From Independence
till 1966, PAC was chaired by a Congress leader and the same
party was in power till then. Minoo Masani was the first
non-Congress chairman of PAC in 1967 and since then no minister
or PM has been summoned by the panel,” a senior BJP leader said.
When the PAC headed by Murli Manohar Joshi was examining the 2G
Spectrum scam during UPA rule, BJP had demanded that Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh be called to depose in front of the
panel. Joshi himself had consulted the then Lok Sabha Speaker on
the issue but later decided not to call the PM though Singh had
expressed his willingness to appear before committee. The matter
had also been raised vociferously in the Joint Parliamentary
Committee formed to look into the issue but Singh was not
The tables have turned now with BJP taking the stand that the
Congress had taken during UPA rule. BJP members are firm that
Modi cannot be called before the PAC on the demonetisation
Some members in the present PAC headed by Thomas have allegedly
been kept in the dark about some steps taken by the panel. A
member, preferring anonymity, said the panel came to know about
the questionnaire sent to RBI governor only through the press.
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