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Opposition slams Tehelka report

February 04, 2004 15:12 IST

The opposition on Wednesday attacked the Justice Phukan Commission, which probed the Tehelka affair, saying its reported findings giving a clean chit to Defence Minister George Fernandes were a "scandal by themselves".

Congress spokesperson S Jaipal Reddy questioned the basis on which Justice S N Phukan reportedly concluded that the Tehelka tapes were doctored.

Justice K Venkataswami, who had probed the episode before Phukan, had considered them to be genuine, he added.

"There was absolutely no scope for Justice Phukan... Justice Phukan referred the tapes to a foreign firm whose identity is not known to anybody except Fernandes and Government of India," Reddy said, accusing the defence minister of using his influence to get the "examination of the tapes doctored".

Reddy said the Congress was "unrepentant" about its stand on the issue. "Fernandes is a great sinner. [Prime Minister Atal Bihari] Vajpayee is a bigger sinner because he has brought the sinner back to the Cabinet," he said.

He said from the beginning the opposition did not trust Phukan, who was chosen by the government, unlike Justice Venkataswami, selected by the Supreme Court.

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