Five MPs of the party walked out of the JPC meeting here today, protesting against the "arbitrary" manner in which the panel's chairman PC Chacko rejected their demand for a list of persons who may appear as witnesses before the JPC. Earlier BJP leader Yashwant Sinha had written to Chacko, urging that the list be finalised without delay.
BJP would like Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram to depose before the JPC. Besides the PM and Chidambaram, BJP wants to call Pulok Chatterjee (Principal Secretary, Prime Minister's Office) and TKA Nair (Advisor to the PM) as witnesses.
Congress members including the panel chairman are opposed to this. Today BJP's Ravi Shankar Prasad demanded to know when Chacko will decide on the list of witnesses but the latter did not specify a definite timeframe.
Yashwant Sinha told mediapersons later that Chacko had not allowed the BJP MPs to raise any question. Slamming the "impartial" chairman's intransigence, Sinha said that his party colleagues are contemplating whether to continue in the panel since Chacko is "gagging" them at its meetings.
The chairman made it clear after the meeting that Chidambaram will not appear before the JPC.
BJP members had staged a similar walkout from the JPC on Aug 22. At that time, the party likened the panel to "a kangaroo court" and alleged that one of the Congress members had abused them. However, Manish Tiwari averred that he had not used unparliamentary language.
Incidentally, RBI Governor DV Subbarao deposed before the JPC today and claimed that there was zero loss to the exchequer due to the 2G scam.
Subbarao, who was Finance Secretary between Apr 2007 and Sep 2008, added that Finance Minister P Chidambaram had agreed with the then Telecom Minister A Raja on licence alocation.