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Not skirting Volcker issue: PM
December 15, 2005 16:06 IST
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today took the wind out of opposition sails on the Volcker issue and refused to be drawn into controversy to provocative and long winding clarifications sought by Leader of Opposition Jaswant Singh in the Rajya Sabha.
Dismissive of the nearly 45 minutes of clarifications sought on a statement made by him on December two following the opposition demand over the revelations made by former Indian Ambassador to Croatia Aneil Mathrani, Singh said, "The matter is under investigation. There is nothing more for me to state."
The investigation is progressing and the Enforcement Directorate is doing its duty, the prime minister added. Asserting that he was not skirting the issue as alleged by Jaswant Singh, the prime minister said the statement was not a suo motu statement but was made after the Leader of Opposition wanted him to take note of some of the statements attributed to Mathrani.
In the statement, the prime minister said, he had, "...clearly and unambiguously stated that Enforcement Directorate will take cognizance of the recent statement attributed to the Indian Ambassador and pursue its investigation."
The investigations were in progress and the ED was doing its duty, he said. Earlier, Jaswant Singh said though the Prime Minister claimed his statement was "clear, consistent and firm, "it was a "dense forest of ambiguity which made it very difficult to understand what the prime minister means."
Jaswant said he was disappointed by the statement which was nothing but "boxed in" consistently skirting the new revelations made by Mathrani. He said it was regrettable that the clarification was being made after a long time, which makes it not topical but historical.
The clarification by the Leader of Opposition's was interspersed with heated exchanges and on several occasions Chairman Bhairon Singh Shekhawat had to step in to restore order. At one point of time, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Suresh Pachouri quoted the ruling of Chairman to say no member should exceed five minutes while seeking clarifications.
Ram Jethmalani wanted the prime minister to confirm whether it was true that Mathrani had written to then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2003 for an enquiry into the Iraqi oil pay-offs and that the Prime Minister's Office ignored it fearing that a probe would "open a can of worms." He wanted to know whether the government would trace the letter and produce it before the House along with the notings.