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Congress for parliamentary probe into 'milking' of PSUs, Judeo case

November 21, 2003 17:57 IST
Last Updated: November 21, 2003 21:23 IST

Taking the BJP-led NDA government to task on corruption, a Congress delegation on Friday met President A P J Abdul Kalam seeking a parliamentary probe into allegations that six Union ministers were 'milking' the Public Sector Undertakings under their charge and that former Union minister of state for environment Dilip Singh Judeo had accepted bribes.

They told Kalam that 'past experience has shown that only parliamentary committees are endowed with the authority to ferret out wrong-doing'.

In Judeo's case, they expressed unhappiness with the manner in which the matter has been dealt with so far, saying it appeared the government is not at all concerned with corruption at high places.

In a memorandum submitted to Kalam, the party said that the mere resignation by Judeo from the Council of Ministers and handing over the matter to the CBI was not enough. A parliamentary committee must be set up to probe the issue, former Union minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters after the meeting.

Briefing reporters, party spokesman S Jaipal Reddy said the delegation had brought to the notice of the President a report published in a Telugu daily in which the names of six Union ministers had been disclosed.

However, Petroleum Minister Ram Naik and Commerce Minister Arun Jaitley have denied the allegations. Jaitley even threatened to sue the newspaper.

The delegation consisting of about 25 leaders also sought Kalam's intervention to prevail upon Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to clarify the allegations levelled against six Union ministers that they had received money and undue favours from Public Sector Undertakings under their charge.

Mukherjee accused the prime minister of 'evading and avoiding' the issue by saying that the Chief Vigilance Commissioner did not mention their names. "The prime minister did not say nobody is involved. He tried to shelter them by saying that no names have been mentioned" during his meeting with the CVC over this issue.

"The government must clarify whether it is factually correct that some ministers were using the PSUs as a source of money to serve their own or party interests," he said.

To a question about the identity of the PSUs, Jaipal Reddy said they included Metal and Mineral Trading Corporation, State Trading Corporation, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, Coal India Limited, Oil and Natural Gas Commission, Indian Oil, Gas Authority of India Ltd and National Thermal Power Corporation.

Prominent members of the delegation were: Pranab Mukherjee, Shivraj Patil, Rangnath Mishra, S Jaipal Reddy, H R Bhardwaj, Salman Khurshid, Oscar Fernandes and Vayalar Ravi.

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