M A I N   N E W S

Oppn wants JPC probe into IPL
BJP disrupts proceedings twice in Lok Sabha
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 23
Pushed to a corner in Parliament today, the UPA government said it would consider the Opposition’s demand to constitute a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) to probe the IPL mess.

The assurance came from Finance Minister and Leader of House in the Lok Sabha, Pranab Mukherjee, who struggled to keep his calm this morning after the BJP-led Opposition disrupted proceedings twice, seeking JPC investigations into the controversy.

The Opposition was united in the argument that government agency probes into IPL couldn’t be taken as fair when names of two Union ministers had figured in the issue. They also targeted the government for watching silently as IPL dealings got murkier over two years.

For Pranab, it was a tough call to take, as was evident by his body language. Thoroughly hassled by the tirade led by Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj (the BJP demanded JPC for the first time today; until now only the Left-led Third Front partners were seeking it), the Finance Minister said: “I have noted your demands but this decision has to be taken after due diligence and consideration. Like instant coffee, it can’t be an instant reaction. I will convey the sense of the House to the Prime Minister. Government will duly consider the matter. Wait for some time.”

Earlier as the two Houses assembled for the day, the Opposition stalled the question hour through a notice for its suspension. Both Houses were adjourned twice till 2 pm. In the Lok Sabha, Swaraj led the charge against the UPA saying government agencies could not find the truth and a JPC was a must to protect the integrity if Parliament.

“Government’s coalition is on the verge of collapse. Top ministers are involved in the IPL controversy. An independent JPC probe is a must,” Swaraj said, with JDU’s Sharad Yadav backing her, calling IPL “a den of thieves”. “Politicians are accountable to Parliament, but IPL kings are accountable to no one. JPC is a must to restore the trust of the House,” Yadav said.

The Left launched focused attacks, with both Basudeb Acharia (CPM) and Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) reminding the government of the 1991 securities scam involving Harshad Mehta. “Under the then PM Narsimha Rao, Manmohan Singh was the Finance Minister and he agreed to the constitution of a JPC. If we could have a JPC for Harshad Mehta, why not for IPL?” questioned Dasgupta.

He said JPC would have long hands, would use multiple government agencies and would have all-party representation. “JPC is the only appropriate form of investigation into IPL, a massive scam, unparalleled in Indian history”, Dasgupta added.

He also shocked the House saying the Income Tax department in a recent communication to the Standing Committee on Ministry of Finance had admitted that no tax assessment of IPL had been conducted and the same would be made after 21 months.





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