After Phukan report, NDA now calls for tabling of CVC findings

New Delhi, April 20 | Updated: Apr 21 2005, 05:30am hrs
Although a decision was taken on Wednesday that the Opposition would no longer disrupt House proceedings, the BJP, however, demanded that the government place the Phukan Commission report as well as the report of the CVC in Parliament to facilitate a discussion.

However, both Houses of Parliament witnessed angry outbursts from both the treasury benches as well as from the Opposition over the tabling of the two reports with the Speaker, Somnath Chatterjee adjourning the Lok Sabha for some time.

The furore began soon after NDA convenor George Fernandes said he was accused of being a thief when, as defence minister, he had refused to hand over the CVC report to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament on grounds of national security and demanded that both the reports be made public.

Leader of the Opposition LK Advani also said that unless both the reports were tabled, a debate on the Kargil arms purchases issue would have no relevance, leading defence minister Pranab Mukherjee to question why the NDA government had refused to provide the CVC report to the PAC.

Finally, Mr Chatterjee asked Mr Mukherjee to table his statement regarding the affidavit filed by the government before the Supreme Court on the arms procurement during the Kargil conflict, which was complied with. However, Mr Mukherjee also said that strict action would be taken against officials, including Mr Fernandes, if it was found that the Kargil crisis had been used as an excuse to make arms purchases with the motive of personal benefit.

Later, in a statement tabled in the House on affidavits filed by the government in the Supreme Court on the Kargil arms purchase case, he said the government had decided to refer 23 cases, including findings of the CAG, to the CBI for investigation.

He also denied that a clean chit had been given to certain individuals or that a U turn had been taken between the first and second affidavits, adding that the affidavit had been filed on the directions of the Supreme Court to detail the findings of CAG, CVC, PAC and Action Taken Report by the government on these.

Later, speaking to mediapersons, leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Jaswant Singh said that although every government has the right to decide what documents should be treated as privileged before tabling them in Parliament, he said that in the present case, the fact that an affidavit had been filed in the Supreme Court on the Phukan report indicated that it was now a public document and hence should be tabled in the House.

We have nothing to hide in any defence deal undertaken during the NDA regime, Mr Singh asserted, adding, We want that the issue of defence procurement should be very transparent.

Referring to reports alleging payment of commission on Indian defence purchases by a South African arms manufacturer, he said an inquiry should be initiated into the issue and a proper mechanism on weapons procurement be developed.