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'PM lied in Parliament, he must resign'

Last updated on: March 18, 2011 19:09 IST
The Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday demanded that the unnamed American embassy officials who witnessed the alleged stacking up of cash for bribing in the 2008 trust vote should be asked to identify the 'conspirators' involved in the act of bribery.

The WikiLeaks expose provides an additional evidence that the conspirators had admitted to these officials that they were involved in the offence of bribery to persuade the MPs to cross vote, Opposition leaders Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj said in a joint statement. 

They also asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to show repentance, even belatedly, 
accept moral responsibility and resign for the cover-up attempt and the 'monumental blunder' of distorting findings of a Lok Sabha committee that probed the 'cash-for-vote' charge of three party MPs who had tabled the bribe money on the day of confidence vote on July 22, 2008.

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'PM lied in Parliament, he must resign'

Last updated on: March 18, 2011 19:09 IST
The two BJP leaders said they will bring a privilege motion against the prime minister in both the Houses of Parliament for distorting the committee report. 

The BJP will also press for a debate in both the Houses on Tuesday, when they meet after the Holi recess, on the issue of the bribery to buy votes of the MPs that has been conclusively established with the WikiLeaks expose or else Parliament will not be allowed to function, they told a press conference after Parliament was adjourned for the day without transacting any business.

They pointed out that the Lok Sabha committee referred by the PM for probing the bribe charge in 2008 was split 4 against 3 and even the majority opined on the role of the bribe givers and wanted further investigation.

'PM lied in Parliament, he must resign'

Last updated on: March 18, 2011 19:09 IST
They said that Dr Singh lied in Parliament that the committee had concluded that "there was insufficient evidence to draw any conclusion of bribery."

The committee had identified Sanjeev Saxena, who carried money to the three BJP MPs from then Samajwadi Party MP Amar Singh, as the bribe giver, the BJP leaders affirmed.

Jaitley said he was not challenging Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari's ruling not allowing members to seek clarifications from the prime minister after he made a statement on the WikiLeaks revelations, but he was sad that the members' voice was "gagged" misquoting a ruling of April 1987 as a precedent.

Then chairman did not allow clarifications on the Bofors kickbacks since he had ruled that questions can be asked in the debate on the Defence Ministry's demands listed very next day, Jaitley said.

'PM lied in Parliament, he must resign'

Last updated on: March 18, 2011 19:09 IST
The two leaders asserted that the prime minister and the United Progressive Alliance government were the principal beneficiaries of the cross voting and pointed out that not only the MPs were lured to support the confidence motion of the government but the CBI too changed its affidavit in the Supreme Court on the disproportionate assets case against Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav who then announced support to the UPA, revering his party's stand.

They also fired five questions at the prime minister, seeking his clarifications, that included one on why he told the India Today Conclave that he was unaware of the fact of bribes paid despite the parliamentary inquiry returning the funding of the bribe paid to MPs.

"Why have you tried to conceal the investigation of truth and the punishment of the guilty. Are you guilty of dereliction of duty? Are you guilty of breach of privilege of Parliament in not complying with the recommendations of the Parliamentary committee of Lok Sabha," the joint statement asked.

It went on to ask the PM: "Has it ever weighed on your conscience that you procured a vote of confidence through such dubious means which you have admitted tarnished India's image domestically and internationally?"