House Panel Castrates Itself For Modi

From India Today, comes news that the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Panel has contradicted the statement of its chairman that Modi can be called before it to explain demonetization.

The contradiction comes following a strong protest lodged by a BJP member of the PAC with the Lok Sabha (Lower House) speaker:
“The PAC statement says that under the rules, “officials may be called to give evidence in connection with the examination of the estimates and accounts in a particular Ministry, Ministers shall not be called before the Committee either to give evidence or consultation:

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  1. The PAC statement, however, further reads that the chairperson of the committee “may have an informal interaction with the Minister”.
  2. The PAC statement in interesting in the view of chairman K V Thomas’s stand that PM Modi Modi could be summoned if the panel is not satisfied with the responses of RBI governor Urjit Patel and finance ministry officials on demonetisation.
  3. Earlier, a BJP member of the PAC registered protest with the Lok Sabha speaker against the statement made by Thomas.
  4. On his part, Thomas cited precedents of PAC summoning union ministers during the chairmanship of senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi, who wanted the then PM Manmohan Singh to appear before the parliamentary panel in connection with 2G and coal scams.
  5. Thomas also cited a 1996-example when the then agriculture minister C Subramaniam appeared before the committee over a CAG report.
  6. In 1992, the then finance minister Manmohan Singh faced PAC over Harshad Mehta stock exchange scandal.
  7. RBI Governor Urjit Patel is slated to appear before the PAC over demonetisation on January 20.

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