Two BJP ministers quizzed by CBI in graft case, party cries foul

Two Punjab BJP ministers were on Monday questioned by the CBI in connection with a graft case in which Chief Parliamentary Secretary (CPS), Finance, Raj Khurana has been arrested.

Last Updated: May 09, 2011, 15:41 PM IST

Chandigarh: Two Punjab BJP ministers were
on Monday questioned by the CBI in connection with a graft case in
which Chief Parliamentary Secretary (CPS), Finance, Raj
Khurana has been arrested.

Industries and Local Bodies Minister Manoranjan Kalia
arrived at the CBI office in Sector 30 here at 11.20 am and
remained closeted for about 75 minutes. He was followed by
Technical Education Minister Swarna Ram.

Denying any role in the case, Kalia, who is at number
three position in the Parkash Singh Badal-led SAD-BJP alliance
government in the state, said that he replied to all CBI
queries in the case.

"I have replied to all of them. I have no connection
with the case," he said at a press conference at the Punjab
BJP headquarters.

Backing its ministers, the BJP accused the CBI of
acting at the behest of the Congress and said its two leaders
will come out clean.

"We do not trust the CBI. It is playing into the hands
of the Congress," Punjab BJP president Ashwani Sharma said at
the press conference.

Kalra`s lawyer K S Sukhija said that the minister will
not move for anticipatory bail as there is no direct
involvement of the BJP leader.

The CBI had issued notice to the two ministers
following the arrest of Khurana and Devinder Singh, an
official of Registrar, Firms & Societies and a Chandigarh
resident, on Thursday for allegedly demanding a bribe of Rs
1.5 crore for closing a complaint against an association.

Punjab Automobile Mechanic Association secretary
Manpreet Singh had filed the complaint against the duo.

The CBI had booked Khurana alleging that the bribe
money was to be handed over through him to Kalia whose name
along with that of Swarna Ram cropped up during three recorded
conversation involving Devinder and Khurana which were
submitted to the court by the CBI.

Kalia said that the CBI officials made him listen
to the audio tape of conversation involving Khurana, Devinder
and Manpreet.

When asked if he was confronted with Khurana and
Devinder, Kalia replied in the negative.

"I have nothing to do with the case. Such files do not
come to me. They are handled at the lower level," he said,
adding that he had not met Khurana since the case came to
light.

Replying to a question, Kalia said that it was the
prerogative of the CBI to call him again or not.

"I did not go as an accused. I have not been named as
an accused by the CBI," he said.

Kalia said that it was an "open secret" that the CBI
is working at the behest of the ruling Congress at the Centre.

PTI