Congress for internal enquiry on Anutulys remarks

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Dec 20 2008, 04:39am hrs
Minority affairs minister AR Antulays fate hangs in the balance with Congress leadership initiating an internal inquiry into his controversial comments on the killing of Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare, which has created a major storm that has considerably embarrassed the party.

Opposition parties on Thursday gunned for the senior minister, demanding that the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sack him for his irresponsible statements. Antulay on Wednesday sought a probe into the manner in which Karkare and other ATS officers were gunned down by terrorists in Mumbai on November 26, hinting that they were deliberately directed towards Cama hospital by someone. Contending that Karkare was a brave and intelligent officer, Antulay said he only wanted to know who had misled him and his colleagues to take a wrong direction towards Cama hospital on that fateful night where he was killed.

That the party was attempting to get to the bottom of the issue was evident when leader of the Lok Sabha and minister of external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee told the house that the government would respond maybe tomorrow or before the house adjourns next week.

The minister, himself, though, was unapologetic earlier in the day and said he had not either party president Sonia Gandhi or the Prime Minister. I owe explanation to none. I have not said anything which has embarrassed the government and the Congress party. In fact, I have helped the government, he said responding to the uproar in parliament and outside over his comments.Asked about demands for his removal, the minister said. If I come to know I have embarrassed the government, then you know my nature is not to stick to positions. I dont think I have embarrassed the government.

The Congress for now seems to be backing him, but with reports that Islamabad is using Antulays statements to try and create holes in the Mumbai attack incident has angered those in the opposition and perplexed many in the the ruling benches.