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Farewell gift to nation-in-law... PM, Sonia guilty, says BJP

Farewell gift to nation-in-law... PM, Sonia guilty, says BJP

Author: Express news service
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: May 29, 2009
URL: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/farewell-gift-to-nationinlaw...-pm-sonia-guilty-says-bjp/452443/0

Describing the withdrawal of the Interpol Red Corner Notice by the CBI against Italian businessman and Bofors suspect Ottavio Quattrocchi as "the last nail in the coffin of the judicial process in the Bofors scandal", NDA prime ministerial candidate L K Advani said he considered both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi "guilty" and promised to "examine the Quattrocchi issue if voted to power".

Reacting to The Indian Express report on the CBI decision not to proceed against Quattrocchi, Advani told reporters in Ahmedabad that Singh and Gandhi were "directly responsible" for this and other "shameful acts of misuse of government institutions". He said voters would punish the Congress the same way as they did in 1989 when the Bofors issue swept Rajiv Gandhi out of power.

Advani said the Quattrocchi affair showed that the UPA was "not confident of returning to power" and, therefore, "could not put on hold such an important decision" until the next government took over. He said "all this amounts to a conspiracy to bury the truth about Bofors".

"I consider both the Prime Minister and Congress president guilty (of the withdrawal of the RCN)... His (PM's) silence over the past five years on the systematic misuse of the CBI and the Law Ministry confirms his guilt. It also confirms my assessment that he is a weak and unworthy Prime Minister who had devalued his high office by making it subservient to the diktats of 10 Janpath," Advani said.

He questioned how the Congress could be trusted on its promise of bringing back black money to India, alleging that kickbacks in the Bofors scandal too were deposited in secret Swiss accounts.

In New Delhi, the BJP promised to investigate the "CBI collusion with its political masters" if voted to power.

"It is time the CBI is made accountable," BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley told reporters, saying the agency "deserves to be investigated" to restore its credibility.

He said the BJP would appoint a commission headed by a Supreme Court judge to investigate "the collusion of the CBI with the accused in several sensitive cases and suggest steps to institutionalise the independence of the CBI."

Jaitley said the RCN had been withdrawn by the CBI "at the behest of the political establishment and at the cost of its own credibility." He called it a "farewell gift to the nation-in-law" by the UPA government. The timing, he said, suggested that the UPA was convinced it would lose power. "Like most despotic regimes, it is obliging its friends in the last days of office," he said.

The CBI, Jaitley said, had mastered "the art of self-goals" and "sabotage in criminal cases involving friends of the ruling establishment".

On Quattrocchi being let off, he said it was evident from the CBI "delay in lodging an FIR, delay in sending letters rogatary, not appealing against an erroneous judgment of the Delhi HC in 2004, collusion in defreezing his bank account in London, making statements in London to the Crown Prosecutor that there was no case against him, allowing the statements to be used against itself in the arrest case in South America and, finally, the withdrawal of the Red Corner Notice".

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