New Delhi: Caught in a cleft over the alleged
bugging of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee`s offices, the
government and Congress party continued to downplay the issue
but Digvijay Singh would not let it rest when he demanded an
Opposition parties sought to maintain pressure demanding
that it come out with whole truth but the government said
there was nothing "to take forward".
Notwithstanding the statements of Pranab Mukherjee and
Cabinet spokesperson Ambika Soni dismissing the report of
bugging as bogus, Singh said he was surprised by the report.
"I was literally surprised that Finance Minister`s
office may be tapped, may be bugged. This is something which
is unheard of and I think the government should take a sort of
view on this and should enquire into who is responsible," he
He was asked whether he was "appalled" to read about
the suspected tapping of the Finance Minister`s office in the
backdrop of indications that `all is not well` inside the
Congress and the UPA.
Asked whether the issue was a shame on the government,
he remarked, "Until and unless you know who has done it, how
can you sort of say anything like that."
"Naturally, yes", he responded when asked whether the
issue needed to be investigated.
Congress spokespersons have so far been maintaining
that the Opposition was making a mountain out of a molehill by
turning the matter into a political row.
Hours after the statement, the party distanced itself
from his statement saying after Mukherjee`s statement "nothing
more needs to be said".
The statement by Congress media department chairman
Janardhan Dwivedi was interpreted as a signal that the
Congressmen should not air their views on the issue.
Meanwhile, senior BJP leader L K Advani asked Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh to come clear on the reported bugging
of Mukherjee`s office and took a dig at the "intelligent"
Finance Minister for believing that the substance found was a
Terming it as a "serious issue", Advani said had it
been a small matter, Pranab Mukherjee would not have
complained to Singh in this regard.
"I had publicly said in Parliament that if Pranab
Mukherjee would not have been there in the government, I
wonder how it would function. He is an intelligent person and
hence I consider this a serious issue," he told a BJP rally
The senior BJP leader said the NDA will raise the
issue in Parliament during the forthcoming Monsoon session.
Advani maintained that in his letter Mukherjee had
asked the Prime Minister for a "secret investigation" into the
suspected bugging of his office, indicating that this was a
"There were adhesives found in 16 places but they said
it was chewing gum. A small kid can come and paste chewing gum
maybe in one or two places, but will he paste it in 16
places?" Advani asked.