Govt may pitch SC-monitored CBI probe into 2G scam to oppn

NEW DELHI: With the opposition refusing to call off its agitation for a JPC probe into the 2G spectrum scam, Congress leadership was busy trying to hash out ways to stave off the pressure.

Sources said the government was likely to agree to a Supreme Court-monitored CBI investigation into the scam if the apex court made a proposal to that effect on Monday when it is scheduled to hear the spectrum case.

Failing that, Congress leadership may agree to hold a JPC probe into the scam. The calibrated approach is a measure of the pressure the opposition has brought to bear upon the government by shutting down Parliament in support of its demand for a parliamentary probe.

On Saturday, opposition rejected Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s plea to let Parliament function.

Congress managers reckon that the pressure may escalate further after the likely removal of ”scam-tainted” B S Yeddyurappa as chief minister of the BJP government in Karnataka and the results of Bihar polls come in. Exit polls suggest that NDA is headed for a comfortable win in Bihar — an eventuality that is sure to act as ballast for the opposition campaign.

One of the reasons BJP is considering getting rid of Yeddyurappa is the recognition that his continued presence as CM will hobble the party’s campaign against Congress on the issue of corruption.

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee is also learnt to have told the Congress leadership to minimize its losses by embracing the demand for a parliamentary probe.

JPC does not seem to be the party’s first option. A strong school in the Congress, however, holds that the party should wait till the hearing in SC before announcing its readiness to accept the opposition’s demand. It feels that the government can blunt the campaign for a JPC by agreeing to an apex court-monitored probe.

Prashant Bhushan, who had moved a PIL before the SC bench of Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly alleging inaction on the government’s part in probing the spectrum scam, has argued for judicial oversight.

Congress plans to reason with the opposition that its refusal to accept the offer of an SC-monitored probe may damage public faith in the judiciary. That the party will prefer an investigation under the court’s supervision to a JPC probe was evident last week when Congress jumped on a pitch for the same by BJP’s Arun Shourie.

Its readiness to concede a JPC probe if opposition refuses to rise to other baits underlines Congress’s discomfort with the continued agitation in Parliament as well as its keenness to control damage – TimesofIndia