Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee KV Thomas has said that he has powers to summon anyone before the committee even if it’s the prime minister or any cabinet minister.
In an exclusive interview to Rajya Sabha TV, Thomas emphasised that since neither the PM nor the Finance minister spoke on demonetisation on the floor of the house, PAC was justified to summon the leaders.
Dismissing reports on political vendetta, Thomas alleged that Prime Minister Modi was destroying institutions one by one – be it the RBI or even the PAC.
Speaking on the Congress leadership, he said the Gandhi family was like glue, which united the party.
Here are some edited excerpts from the interview:
Were you sending out a message when you said that you have the power to summon the prime minister on demonetisation?
There is a valid background behind the report. After demonetisation, PAC decided to examine the country’s economic situation…I don’t want any politics on demonetisation.
What do the actual rules say?
LS Rule says committee can call anybody for questioning. On the 2G scam, the then PM Manmohan Singh agreed to appear in front of committee. There is a direction from the speaker and not a rule.
Do you feel PAC is also becoming a platform of political vendetta?
PAC is the institution of the Parliament. I want to protect this institution. After a meet, the committee decided to call the ministers. Our duty is to look at consolidated funds of India. CAG dispatches reports and they finally come to PAC. PAC has a sub-committee as well…The chairman of the committee has full power. The prime minister took complete responsibility for demonetisation, but neither has the PM nor the FM appeared in the House to speak on the issue.
There are reports that NDA government is reviewing the way Parliamentary Committees function. Are you worried that the government might deny Congress the post of chairmanship of PAC after your term ends?
My term ends in April. I served three times in this current post. Politics will definitely come into this. I have huge support from my committee members. We respect the Prime Minister but I’m afraid he is destroying institutions one by one. That’s a wrong trend. The PM is answerable to the people and the Parliament.
Are you satisfied with the work done by you so far in the PAC?
We have taken decisions on 75 subjects. I am happy with the work done
Why are we seeing a general decline of Congress everywhere?
After Rajiv Gandhi’s death, Congress was losing its grip. Initially Sonia Gandhi was against coming into the political arena. But Congress is intact because of the Gandhi family. Both Rahul and Priyanka can lead and we will accept their leadership. It’s the BJP government that brought in communalism