|Politics is the raja|
|Saturday, 16 April 2011 00:00|
It is precisely because India’s politicians cannot rise above party politics that this newspaper has long argued that the only place for the A Raja 2G scam was in the country’s courts. MPs, however, wanted to have their day in the sun, so while the government kept resisting the demand for a JPC probe, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) began its hearings. Under Murli Manohar Joshi, it went into overdrive and, not surprisingly, this resulted in a situation where Congress/DMK MPs got into a heated argument with Joshi, disrupting proceedings for several hours—while the law secretary got to be questioned for 10 minutes after waiting for several hours, the CBI director and the Attorney General left after waiting for a similar period. The BJP, predictably, reacted saying this was nothing but a tactic to protect the Prime Minister, since the Cabinet Secretary and the Principal Secretary are slated to appear before the PAC today. But, as we have been arguing from day one, it was never clear what the PAC hoped to achieve. It could, at best, amalgamate what the CAG, the CBI and the ED found—Friday’s behaviour pushed the chances of doing even that a bit further. The April 30 deadline, after which some members of the PAC retire and new ones come on board, poses another complication as far as the PAC’s proceedings are concerned.
If MPs have a problem with civilised debate, or no qualms in letting Parliament remain shut for weeks or passing lakhs of crore of budget expenditures without even debating them, how could they be expected to behave in the PAC? It is true Friday’s very public fight represents a new low, but the fact that JPC reports have often had dissent reports makes it clear even the JPC process has little to offer by way of a solution. In any case, in a criminal case of this nature, the only meaningful solutions to the case at hand lie with the courts. While UPA MPs will continue to play their games, the saving grace is that the government has given up on its objection to the Supreme Court appointing a public prosecutor for the case. The chargesheet that has been filed, as we have pointed out, is a weak one. Hopefully, the next round of chargesheets will be stronger.