Govt Stumps Oppn, Sets Up JPC to Probe Chopper Scam
Bangalore: Government stumped the opposition by announcing a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the chopper deal with an assertion that there will be "no cover up" and it was determined to go to the root of the scam so that the guilty could be given the maximum punishment.
The setting up of the 30-member JPC was decided through a government motion passed by the Rajya Sabha after a walkout by members of most of Opposition parties like BJP, JD(U), Trinamool Congress, CPI and AGP.
Moving the motion, parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath said the JPC would submit its report within three months of its first sitting and rejected the Opposition contention that the decision would amount to putting the issue on the backburner.
Nath, who had informed Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj this morning about the government's intent to order JPC probe, attacked the Opposition for walking out, saying they were "running away".
BJP, which had stalled the entire Winter Session of 2010 by persistently demanding a JPC probe into the 2-G scam, walked out of the House against the motion, indicating that the party will refuse to be part of the committee.
Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley said formation of JPC "was an exercise in futility" and "diversionary tactic". Shiv Sena, an NDA constituent, delinked itself from BJP's position and supported formation of 30-member JPC to come out with a report in three months.
However, members of CPI, JD (U), Trinamool and AGP joined BJP in the walkout. Earlier, the House saw an animated debate during which the opposition accused the government of inaction for over a year into the Rs 3,600 crore deal for 12 helicopters with AgustaWestland which has got into a controversy after charges that kickbacks were paid to the tune of Rs 362 crore.
Replying to the debate, Defence Minister A K Antony asserted that the government had nothing to hide and there would be no "cover up". He said the government is determined to go to the "root of the scam".
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