Digvijay Singh demands probe into bugging
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Last Updated: Thursday, June 23, 2011, 22:31
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 inquiry.

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 said.

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 "chewing gum".

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 here.

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 serious matter.

"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.


First Published: Thursday, June 23, 2011, 22:31

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