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|September 23, 1999||
Congress flays Vajpayee again on sugar scam
The Congress party today reiterated its charges that the sugar import from Pakistan was the result of an ''understanding between Vajpayee and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharief, the latter being the main beneficiary as a large portion of the import was from his sugar mills.''
Producing documents in support of his allegations at a press conference in Lucknow today Congress spokesman Kapil Sibal pointed out, there was no serious effort by the prime minister to reduce or check the import from Pakistan. He refuted the Vajpayee government's claim that import duty was raised in order to discourage the import, saying that the gradual increase in import duty had instead encouraged the import.
Sibal said the suggestion of Union Food Minister Surjeet Singh Barnala to increase import duty upto 40 per cent was not only ignored but he was prevented from taking any further action in this regard.
Replying to a question, he said the total financial impact of the sugar import was to the tune of Rs 8000 million and the farmers were the main sufferers.
The Congress spokesman also raised the issue of out-of-turn allotment of a house in Delhi in the name of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The house was allotted to him in November 1994, flouting the existing norms of the Delhi Development Authority, Sibal said.
Vajpayee had said the house in east of Kailash was allotted to him on application and payment of Rs 1.49 million. ''The prime minister talks of high standards of his personal integrity but he flouted the rules in his own interest,'' Sibal added.
Admitting, however, that the order was passed by the Congress regime of P V Narasimha Rao, Sibal said it was Vajpayee who had wanted the house out of turn.
The Congress spokesman also expressed his doubts over Vajpayee's patriotism alleging he had given a statement to the British during the Quit India movement in 1942 due to which two freedom fighters -- Leeladhar Vajpayee and Mahua -- were jailed for five years.
Sibal disputed the prime minister's claim of all-round development of his constituency. ''As far as we know even the amount of Rs 20 million allotted to each Member of Parliament for the development of his respective constituency was not utilised, '' he said, adding that Vajpayee had used ''less than Rs 10 million for the development of his constituency out of the MP's fund.''
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