Monday, March 28, 2011

Tata, Radia, Anil Ambani to appear before PAC

New Delhi: Industrialist Ratan Tata and corporate lobbyist Niira Radia are scheduled to appear before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on April 4, while ADAG chief Anil Ambani is slated to appear before the Committee the next day. The PAC is probing into the 2G telecom scam.

The PAC has also asked Unitech managing director Sanjay Chandra, Swan Telecom promoter Vinod Goenka and S-Tel's Sivasankaran to appear before it on April 5. Sources said PAC on Monday dispatched formal letters asking the telecom operators to appear before it. Tata group's loan of over Rs 1,600 to Unitech, which got 2G licences, and related aspects are among the issues that CBI chief and other officials have discussed with the PAC. Other telecom players like Loop and Swan have also been called by the PAC. The PAC move comes as it rushes to finish its inquiry into the 2G scam so that it is not completely overtaken by the recently constituted Joint Parliamentary Committee headed by P C Chacko of the Congress. Senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi heads PAC.

The PAC has already had the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, CBI director, several DoT officials and others appear before it to explain various aspects of 2G spectrum and licence allocation when A Raja was the telecom minister in 2008.

The JPC has already had its first meeting, after which Chacko raised the issue of PAC encroaching upon its turf with Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar. Chacko has sought Kumar's intervention. The 30-member JPC believes that the PAC should not be holding a probe into a matter that's already being probed by the JPC.

Radia is allegedly heard in the tapes making a case for Raja to get the telecom portfolio and ensure that Dayanidhi Maran (also of DMK) is kept out. Ratan Tata also figures in some of these purported conversations with Radia. Representatives of four telecom firms RCom, Swan Telecom and Unitech, have been called on April 5. Swan Telecom chief Shahid Usman Balwa is already in custody in the 2G Spectrum case.

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