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Ajit Jogi?s son behind Judeo episode, says BJP

BJP claimed that the hotel where the sting operation was carried out were booked by Akash Channel, which is controlled by Jogi?s son.

india Updated: Nov 28, 2003 23:27 IST

Barely three days ahead of the maiden assembly elections in Chhattisgarh, BJP on Friday attacked the Congress Government alleging that an undeclared emergency prevails in the state.

The party sought to blame the Chief Minister Ajit Jogi for the cash on camera controversy involving former union minister Dilip Singh Judeo.

The Government and the administration is being run by a single family and every constitutional institution has been subverted, unleashing a reign of fear and terror in the state, senior BJP leader and Union Minister Arun Jaitley told a press conference in Raipur alluding to the Ajit Jogi regime.

Strongly assailing Jogi's rule, Jaitley likened prevailing situation of fear and terror in Chhattisgarh to the emergency, saying the election has provided an opportunity to people to change the situation and restore democracy.

Mounting an attack on the Chief Minister, Jaitley referred to suspicions over Jogi's caste certificate, nationality of his (Jogi's) son, affidavit of the income and assets and fabrication of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) report, and claimed that there was a crisis of confidence in the Government and those in charge of it.

Referring to Judeo controversy, Jaitley claimed the hotel rooms where the sting operation was carried out, were booked not by the Australian company but by a Delhi-based industrialist Rajat Prasad, who is also the director of the Akash Channel, which allegedly is controlled by Amit Jogi, the Chief Minister's son.

Jaitley refusing to comment on Judeo's involvement, however questioned as to why the source of the tape was not willing to own up responsibility for unravelling the corruption.

Revealing the source could be embarrassing for somebody, he said and reiterated that no Australian company had approached Judeo for work.

"If no foreign company is involved then was the conspiracy hatched at the Chief Minister's residence," Jaitley questioned.

He also referred to numerous telephone calls made to Jogi and his son from New Delhi at the time when the tape was recorded at a five-star hotel in the national capital.

Jaitley said Rajat Prasad and Rohit Prasad, the brothers running a financial company were director and CEO respectively of the Akash Channel. "Why the CEO of the channel, exclusively belonging to Chhattisgarh, is based in Delhi," he questioned.

He sought to know whether the CEO and the director were a mere front and the channel was being allegedly controlled by Amit Jogi.

"And if this is the situation, then how can a foreign national have a control over the channel," he said referring to Amit's American nationality.

Stating that the BJP has full confidence in the CBI, Jaitley said that the persons behind the operation and their intention should be looked into during the probe.

Asked whether the controversy would cost the BJP in assembly polls, Jaitley said it would be decided by the people.

Asked whether the BJP was being victimised by sting operations, Jaitley said, "We are a powerful party and know how to respond to such charges by reaching to the people."

When his attention was drawn to Opposition's allegations that the CBI has become a tool in the hands of the BJP-led government, the Minister said CBI was a mere investigating agency but ultimately the decision had to come from the judiciary.

Jaitley also pointed out that Jogi, who had claimed that he would not campaign in his assembly constituency, was visiting Marwahi on Friday.

However, those feared or hated never win in a secret ballot, Jaitley said.

First Published: Nov 28, 2003 16:13 IST