Mamata punctures Rahul's demand on PNB scam

New Delhi, Feb 21 Fissures surfaced in the opposition ranks, with Trinamool Congress on Wednesday rejecting the idea of a probe into Rs 11,300-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam by a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) as mooted by the Congress and the CPI-M.

"There should be a thorough probe into the Punjab National Bank scam. It's a big case of corruption. But, we think JPC is not the solution," Trinamool leader Derek O'Brien said here.

"The reason why we think so is that eight major JPCs have been set up since Independence - in Bofors (1987), Harshad Mehta case (1992), Ketan Parekh share market scam (2001), soft drinks pesticide issue (2003), 2G spectrum issue (2010), VVIP chopper scam (2013), land acquisition (2015) and FRDI Bill (2017).

"But, has any of these JPCs yielded any concrete results? Some reports are still awaited, some have not been fully implemented and action in some is still awaited. So, we are against a JPC probe into the PNB scam," he added.

Meanwhile, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) on Wednesday demanded a JPC probe into the banking fraud. 

"This case needs to be probed thoroughly. In the previous instances of financial frauds of Harshad Mehta or Ketan Parikh, Joint Parliamentary Committees were constituted and the then Finance Ministers had deposed before them and put in place corrective measures," the CPI-M said.

"In the instant case also a JPC should be constituted and the current Finance Minister must be made to answer all the relevant questions," it stressed, adding that the government is refusing to answer how Nirav Modi was allowed to leave the country when "an FIR was impending against his crime" and subsequently "to surface along with the Prime Minister for a photograph at the Davos World Economic Summit".

The Congress on February 17 said it would raise the PNB scam in Parliament "vociferously" and speak to various opposition parties to put pressure on the government to set up a JPC to probe the matter.

"The Congress, in the interest of the people of the country, will speak to all like- minded parties in Parliament. We will show them documentary evidences of the scam and will form a joint strategy," Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala had said.

He said Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mallikarjuna Kharge, Leaders of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha, respectively, have been assigned the task by the party's Steering Committee to speak to all other parties and arrive at a strategy in Parliament.