BJP to move privilege motion against PM
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Last Updated: Friday, March 18, 2011, 21:33
New Delhi: BJP on Friday said it will move a privilege motion against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for "misleading" Parliament by saying that no bribe was paid to MPs ahead of the July 2008 trust vote, which, it alleged, was contradictory to the findings of a Parliamentary committee.

At a joint press conference, Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and her Rajya Sabha counterpart Arun Jaitley alleged that "it has now been conclusively established that MPs were bribed" to win the confidence vote.

"The Prime Minister and the UPA Government were principal beneficiaries of cross voting... The Prime Minister says he was not aware (of bribe being paid). But he is definitely a beneficiary. Under the law of jurisprudence, being a beneficiary of this offence he is equally liable," Swaraj said.

The principal opposition quoted from the Kishore Chandra Deo committee report, which probed the cash-for-vote issue, to target the Prime Minister.

Referring to Sanjiv Saxena, who was allegedly caught on camera giving bribe to three BJP MPs, Jaitley quoted the report as having said, "Shri Saxena was a bribe-giver, wittingly or unwittingly.

"He, therefore, does not enjoy the immunity under Article 105 of the Constitution...... On whose behalf Shri Saxena was operating..Therefore, his role in the matter needs to be investigated further."

Jaitley alleged that, Singh, while making his statement in Parliament today, "was not economical with the truth but completely at variance with the truth".

Swaraj alleged that the Prime Minister has denied in the House that bribe was paid while the Deo committee had insisted that there was exchange of money.

"This is a breach of privilege. We will move a privilege motion in both Houses of Parliament. Sharad Yadav (JD(U), Yashwant Sinha (BJP) and I have also demanded a discussion on the WikiLeaks expose on March 22," Swaraj said, adding that Singh had "misled Parliament".

Raising more queries, Jaitley said, "Has he (PM) not read the report (of parliament committee)? Did he not see the recorded CDs? Has it not weighed on his conscience that majority was procured through such dubious means?"

He insisted that the Prime Minister should accept his responsibility for this "monumental blunder and quit his office".

Swaraj maintained that in the cables exposed by WikiLeaks, the US official is narrating an incident and so there was no scope for any wrong interpretation by him.

She charged that since the US was concerned whether the nuclear deal will go through or not, the bribe givers showed the cash to the US officials to prove that they were taking all steps - including paying bribes- to win the trust vote.

"The diplomat had no vested interest in sending this cabal," Swaraj said, while arguing about the authenticity of the contents of these cabals.

She added that one such exchange of bribe was also recorded in a sting operation.

The main opposition was miffed at not being allowed to ask clarificatory questions to the Prime Minister in either of the two Houses of Parliament today.

"I am constrained to say that we were denied permission to ask questions because no answer could be given," Jaitley said, charging that this was an attempt to gag the opposition.

BJP alleged that though the Deo committee had recommended three years back that the matter be probed further, the government has till date not taken any action.

Jaitley questioned Manmohan Singh's "legitimacy" to continue in office after this "dereliction of duty".

He rubbished the Prime Minister's claim that the case of bribery was not made out because of insufficient evidence.

"The job of investigation is not the opposition's prerogative but the government's duty," Jaitley said, when asked why the BJP did not initiate criminal charges on it own.


First Published: Friday, March 18, 2011, 21:33

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