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