Senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh on Tuesday found himself at the receiving end in the Rajya Sabha with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking him to name the 'mole' in the PMO during Narasimha Rao's regime who "leaked" nuclear secrets to the US.
"The honourable member should answer the simple question. Who is the mole and why is he shying away from that," the Prime Minister asked him during an acrimonious debate on the issue.
In the midst of heated exchanges between the Treasury and opposition benches, Jaswant Singh said he was trying to establish the centrality of the US efforts to "control, curb and put in tight wrap India's nuclear programme".
This sparked off another bout of protests from the ruling side, which said the BJP leader's comments had no relevance to the 'mole' issue and he was not naming the person.
Jaswant Singh said he was trying to answer all the queries if the members exercise patience.
Jaswant Singh said that when it became a common knowledge in December 1995 that India was planning a nuclear test, the US wanted to bring pressure on the then Prime Minister.
When BJP came to power in 1998, the Vajpayee Government thwarted the US surveillance and prevented Washington from knowing about it. "Vajpayee did it exceptionally well", he said amid thumping of desks by BJP members.
But this observation raised a storm of protests from the ruling side to which the BJP leader said that in 1974 the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had achieved "exactly the same thing".
Jaswant Singh was throughout backed by his party President Rajnath Singh and senior leaders including Sushma Swaraj, Murli Manohar Joshi and others.
In the course of acrimonious exchanges, Jaswant Singh was repeatedly asked what he did all these years.
Taking a strong exception to the prime minister accusing him of lacking decency and courage to name the mole, the leader of the Opposition said the statement was "unwarranted, unworthy and gratuitously insulting".
Expressing indignation over the prime minister not giving him time, Jaswant Singh was sore over the fact that his letter was replied through the media by Prime Minister's media adviser even before it could reach him.
"This is how opposition should be treated", he wondered.