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Oppn whips Govt on CWG, Govt blames media, CAG

Last updated on: August 8, 2011 20:19 IST

Oppn whips Govt on CWG, Govt blames media, CAG

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A Correspondent in New Delhi

The United Progressive Alliance government was on backfoot on Monday with the Commonwealth Games scams coming to haunt it again with the Opposition moving privileges against it for trying to feed 'half truth' to Parliament through its sports minister after the Comptroller and Auditor General's leaked findings cast shadow on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The government and ruling Congress turned guns on the media and the CAG even as the Bhartiya Janata Party-led Opposition battered them and forced the shut-down of Parliament demanding Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit's ouster.

The Opposition jumped into well in both the Houses and did not allow them to function, as it insisted on removal of Dikshit after the CAG indictment of her government for irregularities in creation of facilities the CWG while the government insisted that adverse references to her role in certain contracts is "no indictment" warranting her resignation.

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The BJP also moved privileged motions in both the Houses against Sports Minister Ajay Maken for a misleading statement last Tuesday to show as if arrested Congress MP Suresh Kalmadi was made the CWG organising committee chairman because of the wrongs of the BJP-led National Democratic Allaince government and it was a fait accomplie for the UPA government. 

Former finance minister Yashwant Sinha, who gave the privilege notice in the Lok Sabha, quoted extensively from the CAG report tabled on Friday to nail Maken for revealing some facts and suppressing others.

His another motion was to suspend the question hour and immediately discuss the CAG findings.


Image: Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit

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Congress spokesman Manish Tewari, however, chose to question the CAG itself for overstepping its role as the financial watchdog under Article 149 and the 1971 CAG Act in commenting upon the process of appointment and trying to implicate the Prime Minister's Office under Dr Singh on how arrested Congress MP Suresh Kalmadi became the chairman of the CWG organising committee.

He wondered whether it is 'intentional omission or oversight' or choosing to overlook two events on the part of the CAG to selectively refer to documents to fault the PMO on Kalmadi's appointment.

The events he referred to had taken place in September and December 2003 during the NDA regime in the Cabinet approving the host city contract and the Delhi government, the Centre nd Kalmadi signing the contract.


Image: File photo of Kalmadi

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There was pandemonium in both the Houses right from the start, with the opposition members crowding in the well demanding Sheila Dikshit's head.

The members in the well even before the Deputy Speaker took the chair at noon after one adjournment and he was forced to adjourn for the day after letting papers laid amid pandemonium.

The same scenario was witnessed in the Rajya Sabha that gave a miss to the question hour and then adjourned for the day.

Even while the confrontation between the government and the BJP escalated, an exercise was on between them to save the truce they entered only last week to allow Parliament to function and clear the financial business like insurance and banking bills as also laws on new direct and indirect taxes that are hanging fire.

Sinha said an offer has come from the government but refused to share it with the media until the NDA takes a view on it. "We are interested in debates and functioning of Parliament and not deadlock," he said.



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Soni, Sibal and Salman: The government later chose to go into a media bashing drive at a press conference addressed jointly by Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal and Law Minister Salman Khurshid, particularly hitting at the electronic media going overboard and pleading to stop flaring up issues with false claims and without proofs.

The TV media is concocting facts for the sake of their TRP to attract more advertisements, Soni alleged.

Sibal said one-sided reporting of events is dangerous for democracy and wanted the media to look for self-regulatory mechanism to stop sensationalising sensitive legislative and executive processes.

Salman said the government was not shying away from discussing the CAG report, but there is a procedure that first the PAC examines it and then Parliament discusses it.



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All three insisted that nobody in 'high office', be it the PM or Sheila Dikshit, have been indicted in the CAG report to justify the way the BJP is demanding action.

The government will take a stand only after the PAC has examined the report and it cannot be made to jump the gun, they insisted. "There is no indictment of anyone in the high office, leave aside that of Sheila Dikshit," Soni and Sibal affirmed, pointing out that adverse references in the report do not constitute any indictment.

Congress spokesman Tewari, at a separate press conference, chided the BJP that after shedding blood in Karnataka, it is trying to take blood in Delhi and not understanding that the Lokayukt report against its then chief minister B S Yeddyurappa and the CAG's CWG report are altogether different. 



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It is the function of the PAC to examine the CAG reports and if the CAG reports are to be taken on their face value for the government to take action, the BJP will have to answer why it did not act against its chief ministers in Uttarakhand and Gujarat despite the CAG censures, Tewari affirmed.

The CAG had unearthed misappropriation of funds to the tune of Rs 44 crore in the Maha Kumbh by the "Hindutva" party in power in Uttarakhand while Chief Minister Narendra Modi blocked the legislative process of submission of the PAC report for the past many years after it found weight in the CAG establishing corruption to the tune of Rs 500 crores in the state government's Sujlam, Suflam programme.

The CAG also indicted his government for huge losses causes to the Gujarat electricity corporation, the Congress spokesman pointed out.



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