‘The Congress’ record in power reeks of corruption’

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BJP General Secretary & MP Ravi Shankar Prasad tells Kunal Majumder that a JPC should probe recent scams

Photo: Shailendra Pandey

Why is the opposition blocking Parliament from functioning even after A Raja’s resignation?
Resignation is not the point. The point is, it is the biggest scam in 60 years of India’s independence — Rs. 1,76,000 crore. We had some debates in Parliament. Initially, the PM defended Raja, saying he had followed government policy. Now, TRAI documents show that it had said in 2007 that no licence can be issued at 2005 rates. The PM never denied that. For the first time, the CBI raided the premises of a serving Central minister. The Delhi High Court struck down the entire first-come, first-served allocation process. The CVC made adverse comments. And now the CAG report. There has to be a proper inquiry. The Congress culture of bailing out people is too well known.

Why is a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe so important?
A Public Accounts Committee (PAC) probe has its limitations. It cannot recommend prosecution or enlarge the scope of a probe. So, we want a JPC probe.

Why the personality slugfest between the BJP and Congress?
Congress spokesman Manish Tewari made some inappropriate comments. He made baseless allegations against Nitin Gadkari. I asked him to apologise, but he didn’t. So, we have sent him a legal notice.

What is your reaction to Digvijay Singh’s demand for a probe into Gadkari’s wealth?
Digvijay keeps on making silly demands. To me, he seems irrelevant to his own party and state. I’m saying this on record. To make himself relevant to the party, he attacks the home minister. To keep himself relevant in Muslim politics, he goes to Azamgarh to meet the family of the terrorist involved in the Batla House incident, whereas slain Inspector Mohan Sharma was awarded the Ashok Chakra by his own government.

Ashok Chavan has resigned after corruption charges. Will Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa follow suit?
Irregularities in housing societies are nothing new. The Adarsh Society scam shocked the nation because Kargil widows were duped. As far as Yeddyurappa is concerned, he has explained everything. Hundreds of plots around the country have been given to big media houses in Delhi, Noida and Greater Noida on Re. 1 lease. What about them? If you want to raise a question on discretionary quota, then please check every allotment.

While it is clear that some UPA leaders have been involved in corruption, can you claim that all BJP leaders are clean?
The Congress party’s record in encouraging corruption, condoning corruption and bailing out the accused is well known. In the Bofors case, Ottavio Quattrocchi was allowed to escape, charges were dropped and his bank account was unfreezed based on the government’s advice. Look at the telecom spectrum scam, even the Solicitor General has been used to bail out Raja. Look at the Commonwealth Games: skeletons are tumbling out every day. It was supposed to cost Rs. 700 crore, then revised to Rs. 1,000 crore. The final cost was Rs. 70,000 crore. Suresh Kalmadi is just one of the players, many others were involved. When the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government was in power in 1998, it had a slim majority. Independent MP Buta Singh was the telecom minister. He was chargesheeted and Vajpayee asked him to resign. Subsequently, we lost the vote of confidence by one vote. That is our tradition. The Congress record in the past 60 years reeks of corruption.

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