The multi-crore Satyam scandal rocked the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday with the Opposition attacking the Government after the latter failed to give convincing answers on the question of action against PriceWaterhouse,the auditors for Satyam.
The Satyam issue ate up the entire Question Hour. With disruptions taking away time,Chairman Hamid Ansari called a meeting of leaders after the Question Hour to seek cooperation for smooth running of the House.
What triggered the storm was Company Affairs Minister Prem Chand Guptas inability to give satisfactory answers to questions like whether action would be taken against PricewaterHouse,whether accounts of companies audited by the firm would be investigated and why was an earlier ban on the firm lifted by the RBI. He also sidestepped the NDA demand for a JPC probe,leading to protests.
Gupta said the Government could not take action against the firm as the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) was the regulatory authority. He added: The RBI has no legal power to blacklist any audit firm. That is the job of the ICAI,and in fact,they also cannot blacklist. They can issue an advisory. He assured the House that there was coordination between the various agencies probing the scam.
Foreign policy under attack
Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Jaswant Singh attacked the UPA Governments foreign policy,accusing it of inaction in the face of dangerous developments in the neighborhood like talibanisation of Pakistan and growing influence of China in Nepal. Terming the Governments response during the 26/11 attacks as 70 hours of paralysis of thought and action,he described Indian diplomacy with Pakistan as no more than a charade.
Home Minister P Chidambaram expressed his unhappiness over the recent incident in Ranchi in which senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha was injured in a police lathicharge. I am very upset and distressed by the incident, Chidambaram told the Rajya Sabha. The government was asked to make a statement by the Chair after Sinha related the incident to the House.
On Presidents address
Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Jaswant Singh picked mistakes in the Presidents address to the joint sitting of Parliament,while CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechuri said the bulk of the address was focused on the economic situation and achievements and not so much on inclusive growth. JD(U)s Ali Anwar Ansari complained that the President did not mention the Bihar floods.