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Singhvi gagged over lottery case

The Congress has restrained spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi from holding press briefings till the controversy over his appearing for a "dubious" lottery distributor in the Kerala High Court is cleared.

india Updated: Oct 07, 2010 00:03 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

The Congress has restrained spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi from holding press briefings till the controversy over his appearing for a "dubious" lottery distributor in the Kerala High Court is cleared.

The party high command had taken a serious note of the issue after the state unit demanded "stringent action" against Singhvi for defending Megha Distributors, an agent for lotteries of Sikkim and Bhutan, in the Kerala HC.

Though Singhvi has already withdrawn from the case to "avoid any communication gap or controversy", the matter is now under the consideration of the Congress disciplinary committee, headed by Defence Minister and former Kerala chief minister AK Antony.

On Wednesday, Singhvi said: "The Congress high command is always final. I am and remain an obedient Congress soldier. My conscience is clear."

The Kerala Congress on Wednesday welcomed the party leadership’s decision to restrain Singhvi from holding mediabriefings till a decision is taken on the row over his appearance.

The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) in the state had put the Congress on the defensive on the issue, alleging that Singhvi took up the case with the "full knowledge" of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) had made the issue one its main campaign points in the coming civic polls to nail down the LDF government. Its pressure had forced the CPM-led government to promulgate an ordinance designed to clip the wings of promoters of lotteries.

State Congress leaders said that Singhvi’s action had undermined them and put them on a back-foot in the civic polls.

"The ruling LDF was in a fix after the news of their leaders accepting hefty bribe from the representatives of Sikkim and Bhutan lottery promoters surfaced. This act of a senior Congress leader will boomerang on the party. Leaders here fail to explain this act…. that too at a time when campaign is on," party MP P.T. Thomas had said in his letter to Gandhi.

First Published: Oct 06, 2010 17:19 IST