Pure farce is what the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probing the 2G spectrum scam has been reduced to. Over two years have elapsed since its cosmetic probe under the chairmanship of Mr. PC Chacko began. Amazingly, the chief accused in the scam and presently in jail former Telecom Minister Mr. A Raja has not been questioned even once by the JPC. What kind of probe is the JPC conducting? Clearly truth was the last thing the JPC seemed to be seeking? Well, now Mr. Raja has written to the Lok Sabha Speaker Mrs. Meira Kumar seeking permission to depose before the JPC in order to expose the truth of the scam being “suppressed on basis of preconceived notions”. If Mr. Raja spills the beans he might well make irretrievable a situation already so bad for the government that it contains enough evidence to prosecute its leading lights including the Prime Minister.
Readers might recall this writer pointing out on September 29, 2011:
“Just one week before Mr. Raja was charge sheeted the recently leaked Finance Ministry note had been prepared on March 25, 2011. The note made clear that Home Minister Mr. P. Chidambaram, then the Finance Minister, was initially opposed to Mr. Raja’s decision not to auction the Spectrum 2G licenses but eventually did not prevent him. That disclosure created an uproar and tension between Mr. Chidambaram and Finance Minister Mr. Pranab Mukherjee.
Now Mr. Mukherjee has written a new letter to the Prime Minister in which he has clarified that the note was a background paper intended to achieve a consensual approach by different ministries on the contentious issue of 2G Spectrum licenses… the note was prepared with inputs from several ministries including Law, Finance and Telecom, as well as the cabinet secretariat and the PMO… Mr. Mukherjee’s letter makes clear therefore that all the ministers concerned were in the loop about what Mr. Raja was up to…
Mr. Raja was booked for criminal conspiracy, cheating and forgery under sections 120B, 420, 468 and 471 IPC, and under various sections of Prevention of Corruption Act… In the light of the note dated March 25, 2011, Mr. Mukherjee’s latest letter to the PM revealing the involvement of several ministries in its preparation, and the fact that it was released by the Cabinet Secretariat creates powerful circumstantial evidence that the PM, the FM and the HM were all aware before April 2, 2011, when Mr. Raja was charge sheeted, of what he had done during 2008-2009 when he was issuing the licenses. But it was the Supreme Court and not the government that ordered the CBI to probe Mr. Raja…
The Prevention of Corruption Act makes clear that even without direct complicity or motive of profit if any official is aware of the state being defrauded and does not act to prevent it, he or she becomes an abettor open to criminal prosecution. Section 10 of the Act reads:
“Whoever, being a public servant, in respect of whom either of the offences defined in Section 8 or Section 9 (defrauding the state) is committed, abets the offence, whether or not that offence is committed in consequence of that abetment, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall be not less than six months but which may extend to five years and shall also be liable to fine.”…
In the light of the above facts should not the question be which ministers are not guilty?”
Not surprisingly neither the government, nor opposition nor the rest of the media took notice of these comments. Now Mr. Raja has expressed a wish to depose before the JPC to reveal his version of the truth. It is intriguing why he should have waited so long to make the request. Did he receive an encouraging signal from somewhere? If he reaffirms with additional inputs his briefing of top ministers including the PM about the steps he took on the 2G Spectrum licenses how will the government survive? Much will depend of course on how JPC Chairman Mr.Chacko, a staunch Sonia Gandhi loyalist, responds. Mr. Raja has the potential of compelling the resignations of its top leaders. If that were to happen the decks would be cleared for Mrs. Gandhi to appoint a new PM better placed to meet the challenge of the election in 2014. Developments arising from Mr. Raja’s request should merit close attention.