TMC against JPC probe into PNB scam
New Delhi: Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress and other Left opposition parties were sharply divided on Wednesday over constitution of a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to go into the PNB scam involving billionaire diamond merchant Nirav Modi, a proposal broached by the Congress.
TMC feels that there were instances in the past when such panels were constituted but there was no outcome. It would delay the process of unravelling the truth, it said. While talking to mediapersons here party's senior leader and Rajya Sabha MP Derek O'Brien said that the government should finish the investigation process earliest to come out with the truth.
"We do not want JPC. It cannot be the solution. We believe that the truth should come out fast. In all such corruption cases, it is the common man who is at the receiving end. They are denied loans; either the farmers or the self help groups are getting victimized," he added.
Earlier, party supremo and the West Bengal Chief Minister mentioned in a micro-blogging site that, "Those who have Kisan Credit Cards and are entitled to loans are being denied loans. And yet some VIP bank customers are looting this country. The self-help groups, those who run small businesses, and other commoners are deprived of loans. And yet, special people are being given thousands of crores of rupees. Why this fraud? Why this fraud?"
According to the available documents in the public domain, the JPC idled much earlier times. In 1987, a JPC was formed to investigate the case of Bofors, however, the Oppositions then boycotted the committee on the grounds that it was packed by Congress members. Then during 1992, for Harshad Mehta's case also a JPC was constituted and in October 1997 a Special Court was set up to hear the case and the charges brought by the CBI. Similarly, in 2001 for the 'share market scam' (Ketan Parekh) a JPC was ordered and laid its report in 2002, but many of the recommendations were diluted later. In addition, in 2003, for the 'soft drink pesticide issue' a JPC was set up, however, no action has been taken even after 13 years. Similarly, for VVIP chopper scam (2013) the final JPC's report is yet to be released.
Meanwhile, the CPI(M) stated that the case needed to be probed thoroughly. "In the previous instances of financial frauds of Harshad Mehta or Ketan Parekh, JPCs were constituted and the then finance ministers had deposed before them and put in place corrective measures. In the instant case also a JPC should be constituted and the current finance minister must be made to answer all the relevant questions", CPI(M) said in a statement.
The CPI also demanded a two-pronged approach for dealing with the issue, including a JPC. "We feel on one hand the legal process should continue and the government should leave no stones unturned to bring such scamsters (Nirav Modi and others like Vijay Mallya) back to India...Their properties attached, on the other a JPC should be constituted so that many other questions can be answered," senior CPI leader D Raja said. Meanwhile, the political experts also questioned over the recruitment of MD and CEO of the Punjab National Bank during 2014-15. Sources claimed that in 2014, the incumbent NDA government scrapped the list that was shortlisted by "Bank Board Bureau" and the recruitment happened from the second list. Moreover, questions have also been raised over transfer of Usha Anand Subramanian, CMD, PNB to Allahabad Bank in Kolkata, without informing BBB. Sunil Mehta was appointed as CMD in May, 2017.