Sunday, November 14, 2010

Opposition welcomes resignation of Raja, demands impartial probe

Demands impartial inquiry into 2G spectrum allocation

Opposition parties on Sunday welcomed the resignation of Telecom Minister A. Raja over the 2G spectrum allocation scam, but demanded an impartial inquiry into the alleged Rs. 1.76 lakh crore fraud and filing of a case in this regard.

The ruling Congress, on the other hand, claimed a moral high ground, saying the UPA Minister tendered his resignation in the highest traditions of democracy and hoped that the Opposition would now allow Parliament to function.

Describing it as the “mother of all scams” and “a monumental fraud of 1.76 lakh crore,” Bharatiya Janata Party chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said Mr. Raja must be prosecuted under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

“A proper FIR should be lodged, the CBI is already inquiring... All those involved in this big scam... should be made accountable and liable. All should be prosecuted,” he said.

Party spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said: “The acceptance of Raja's resignation by the Prime Minister vindicates the BJP's position... but this does not absolve the government of the charges of corruption engulfing it in the recent past.

“The BJP still reiterates its demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe and the Prime Minister — Mr. Clean — has to do a lot of answering to the charges of corruption against the Congress government,” he said.

The AIADMK, the main Opposition party in Tamil Nadu whose supremo Jayalalithaa had offered its support to the UPA in return for the “sacking” of Mr. Raja, termed the resignation “a victory for democracy.”

“Madam's [Jayalalithaa] interview last week [offering support], had a catalytic effect on the whole episode. Raja's resignation today is a victory for democracy. It is a victory for probity in public life and a victory for crusade against corruption,” AIADMK leader V. Maitreyan said.

“It is only the beginning, not the end of it. Raja's resignation is only the first step. Now that he has resigned, cases should be filed against him under the Prevention of Corruption Act, he should be prosecuted and the law should take its own course,” he said.

He said his party would “move for a joint parliamentary probe” into the whole issue. “As my party general secretary has mentioned, the Prime Minister had to maintain silence because of coalition compulsion. At least for now, there is a good beginning and I hope it will lead to its logical conclusion,” Mr. Maitreyan said

The CPI(M) said the resignation was not the “end in itself.”

“We have been asking for this for over two years. This is not the end in itself as resignation was sought for conducting an impartial inquiry into how the system was manipulated to cause such a massive loss. Impartial inquiry is required to cleanse the system,” party leader Sitaram Yechury told PTI.

CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat said that with the resignation of Mr. Raja it was imperative that the probe into the scam was conducted thoroughly so that “those guilty of causing such a huge loss to the exchequer are brought to book.”

The Congress, meanwhile, expressed confidence that Mr. Raja's resignation will have no bearing on its alliance with the DMK.

Party spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan said the resignation showed that the UPA was maintaining the highest standards of accountability and integrity.

Mr. Natarajan said her party's alliance with the DMK was “very strong” and there would be “absolutely no change” in it. Mr. Raja's resignation would have “no bearing on the alliance,” she said.

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