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Vajpayee rejects demands for JPC probe into Judeo issue

PM rejected JPC probe into cash-on-camera scam involving Judeo, saying the CBI is looking into it.

india Updated: Dec 12, 2003 01:08 IST

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Thursday said that allegations against former minister Dilip Singh Judeo were "false" while in "(Ajit) Jogi's case everything was clear''.

Rejecting the Opposition demand for a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe into the Judeo cash-on-camera scandal, Vajpayee said: "There is no need for a JPC probe. The objective is to find the truth, which the CBI is capable of doing." The PM was replying after the discussion on the alleged bribery episode.

The Opposition alleged that the CBI was adopting "double standards" in cases involving Judeo and former Chhattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi. But Vajpayee pointed out that Judeo had been told to resign immediately after newspaper reports. "Where is the question of double standards?" he asked.

He said the CBI would "get to the truth" and probe "where the VCD came from and who was behind it". He also pointed out that the VCD's picture quality was not very good and it was unclear who was the person who handed over the cash to Judeo.

In a lighter vein, but with a definite political point, the PM said: "So many things are blurred. It is necessary to make everything clear." In a more categorical statement, Vajpayee said: "The allegations against Judeo are false... Even after Judeo was framed, do you know why we won the Chhattisgarh election?" This agitated the Opposition members who claimed that the PM was giving a clean chit to Judeo.

Deploring the PM's observation, veteran CPI (M) leader Somnath Chatterjee said: "If the PM gives a certificate to Judeo, how can the CBI probe be fair?"

Vajpayee was not done yet. Following a verbal duel with Chatterjee and while hitting back at questions of double standards raised by Congress MP Satyavrat Chaturvedi, he said: "In Jogi's case everything was clear. He played his cards openly, brazenly."

Denying that the CBI was under any pressure, the PM said, "Baseless allegations are being hurled at the investigating agency and I think it is not at all correct". He suggested that all political parties must sit together and find out ways and means to stem corruption and "see where the country is headed".

Earlier, continuing Wednesday's debate, CPI Member Ajoy Chakraborty demanded a JPC probe into the allegations against Judeo. Devendra Prasad Yadav of the Janata Dal (United) demanded that the government set up a high-powered committee to "look into the issue of corruption".

When Independent member Pappu Yadav, who has allegations of criminal charges against him, rose to speak on corruption, there were peals of laughter from both the Treasury and Opposition benches.

First Published: Dec 11, 2003 13:05 IST