Friday, February 18, 2011

Advani says sorry to Sonia,Expresses Regret For Graft Charges

New Delhi: BJP leader L K Advani has expressed regret to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi for alleging she and her family had wealth stashed in foreign accounts, dealing a blow to the party’s campaign against graft and black money. 
   In a letter to Sonia, Advani said that he “deeply” regretted the distress caused to her by the allegations a BJP task force recently made about the Gandhis hoarding black money in foreign accounts.
   The backtracking was forced by a strong protest from the Congress chief and the recognition that Advani had nothing save unsubstantiated reports in little known Russian and Swiss publications to back the serious charge. “I am happy that you have denied the reports relating to you and your family alludedto in the task force’s report on black money,” Advani said in a letter to the Congress chief.
   “If these had been denied earlier, the task force would have taken into account your denial. Even so, I deeply regret the distress caused to you,” Advani said.
   Sonia had countered the charge in a letter she wrote to the BJP chief on February 15 where she asserted that neither she nor Rajiv Gandhi had any foreign bank accounts.
   The retreat marks a setback to BJP’s campaign to pin down Congress leadership under the spate of corruption cases the government is grappling with, and can aggravate the debate within BJP on how to carry forward the campaign.
   Embarrassed party sources revealed that the task force report was prepared by people close to Advani and in defiance of the strong view of the party chief Nitin Gadkari and others. Gadkari and others, sources said, had cautioned against making “rash” allegations without solid evidence. The party chief had said that BJP’s campaign had made headway since it was based on irrefutable facts concerning the Commonwealth Games, spectrum and Adarsh Housing scams, and that temptation to take shortcuts carried the risk of loss of momentum.
   Sources said that though Gadkari foundsupportfrom others,itwasAdvani and his advisers who had their way. The divergence over strategy is getting accentuated by continuing ambivalence over Advani’s status in the party. Prima facie, the veteran has vacated the stage for Gadkari and the leaders of Opposition in the two Houses, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley. However, in reality it is hiswordwhich prevailson crucialissues and not necessarily, as the fresh fiasco shows, with the best results.
   With the task force report backfiring, fissures in the top BJP leadership are likely to widen.

CBI moves SC against Advani in Babri case
New Delhi: The CBI made a fresh attempt to revive the Babri Masjid demolition case against BJP leader and former deputy prime minister L K Advani when it moved the Supreme Court challenging dropping of conspiracy charges against him and 20 other politicians. But, the agency’s special leave petition (SLP) has been filed nine months after the AllahabadHC’s Lucknow Bench upheld a trial court verdict dropping conspiracy charges against Advani, Bal Thackeray, Murli Manohar Joshi, Kalyan Singh and others.

   The CBI has also moved an application requesting the Supreme Court to condone the delay of six months in filing the appeal against the HC’s May 20, 2010, order.
   For, it knows that the appeal should have been filed within 90 days of the HC judgment, that is by August 19 last year. The CBI appeal comes at a time when the main opposition in Parliament has turned the heat on the Congress-led UPA government headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on corruption and a joint parliamentary committee probe into irregular allotment of spectrum to mobile telephone service providers during A Raja’s tenure as telecom minister in 2008.
   The CBI said that the HC had erred in upholding the trial court’s decision to drop conspiracy charges against Advani and others in the FIR 198/1992 lodged at Ayodhya for their alleged address to kar sevaks, who stormed the disputed site and demolished the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992. TNN

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