Rediff Logo Business Exim Banner Ad
Find/Feedback/Site Index
October 7 , 1997


Assam CM blast Jethmalani for letter on Tatas

Assam Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta on Tuesday took strong exception to the letter written to him by legal expert Ram Jethmalani (see link below) in connection with the Tata Tea's alleged involvement in funding the banned ULFA.

In reply to Jethmalani's letter, Mahanta said, "I have received your letter and you have addressed me as my dear chief minister, but I do not know how you expect me to address you. Because you have caused some confusion in my mind about the capacity in which you have written to me.

"You have stated that you are writing as a citizen, but you have also implied that you are writing as a member of Parliament, as the father of a lawyer engaged by Tata Tea and as a lawyer who is professionally involved in the case on which you have commented in the letter. However, it is perhaps pointless to go into such trifles," he said.

The chief minister, in his written reply, a copy of which was released to the press, said Jethmalani was trying to play the role of a judge and a prosecutor simultaneously out of self-interest.

He said Jethmalani had forfeited his rights to know the state government's point of view by showing his prejudices and lack of neutrality in assessing the government's conduct.

''In no way, therefore, I am obliged to respond to the points and questions you have raised in your letter,'' Mahanta said in his letter.

''It would have been more befitting for a person of your legal and political stature to come and shed a few tears about 1,500 lives lost in Assam (out of which about 400 were armymen, policemen, members of the CRPF and BSF [the paramilitary} and government servants) in insurgency-related violence rather than direct all your sympathies to the death of one and the kidnapping of two Tata executives and the company's perceived fear that has prompted them to make friends, wine and dine in hotels abroad with enemies of the state,'' the letter said.

''What else has been done by them collectively to undermine the security of this country will hopefully come out in the courts of law,'' he said.

Meanwhile, the ruling Asom Gana Parishad in Assam on Tuesday made it clear that it would rather sacrifice power than compromise on initiating a criminal investigation against the top industrial houses in the country.

Addressing newsmen in Guwahati, party General Secretary Pradeep Hazarika, also the state transport minister, categorically said the AGP would never compromise with those industrial houses for the sake of the state and its people.

Launching a tirade against the Congress, Hazarika alleged that since the arrest of the Tata Tea executives, a section of the press at the ''instigation'' of the Congress had painted a ''negative'' picture of the party.

''National political leaders, industrialists and senior government and security officials have tried to pressurise the AGP for daring to take on the Tatas,'' he claimed.

Hazarika said all government efforts to contain militancy had been negated by factors like the ''liberal contribution'' by industrial houses and the ''evil design'' of a section of government officials.

Ram Jethmalani tells Assam Chief Minister not to hound Tatas
Assam governor denies speaking to Sam Maneckshaw
Beware! Industrialists must not reveal secrets over the telephone

The Tempest Rages On: Govt orders probe into phone tapping
Tatas refuse to comment
Who's who in the imbroglio
Assam govt expresses concern
Tata Tea executive Gogoi arrested
Assam govt alleges Tata Tea had tacit deal with ULFA
Mahanta vows tough action against cos backing ULFA
Gujral did not meet Ratan Tata; Dogra remanded to 14 days judicial custody
Assam police arrest Tata Tea GM Dogra for nexus with ULFA
Union home ministry denies interfering in Tata Tea case
Tata Tea denies charges of nexus with ULFA
Tata Tea officials probed on alleged nexus with ULFA

The Lost Children Of India

Tell us what you think of this report