Mole not named, says PMO

New Delhi, July 30 | Updated: Jul 31 2006, 05:30am hrs
The saga of the mole in the PMO row continued with the Prime Ministers Office strongly rebutting senior BJP leader Jaswant Singhs claim that he had named the mole in the Narasimha Rao government in his letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh dated July 28.

Prime Ministers media advisor Sanjaya Baru told reporters that not only had Jaswant Singh not named any personas was mentioned in media reportsbut had sent a document which is not an original and has no signature or letterhead. A copy of the letter has been published in the latest issue of India Today.

Turning the tables on Jaswant Singh and reiterating his earlier challenge to him to go public with the name, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in reply to the former external affairs ministers letter, said, The alleged informant is not named nor is there any confirmation that the person was from the PMO. If you have any further information in this regard you may wish to disclose it to the public.

Taking a dig at Jaswant for having kept quiet for more than a decade on the alleged information on the mole, the Prime Minister said, I am, however, surprised that the material sent by you was in your possession when you were a member of the Union council of ministers, and still you did not share it with my predecessor (Atal Bihari Vajpayee).

Refusing to comment on the development, BJP spokesman Ravishankar Prasad said Jaswants office would reply to the PMOs statement.

Jaswant, days before the release of his latest book A Call to Honour, had said there was a mole in the PMO (in Raos regime), who leaked nuclear secrets to the US.

He later clarified that the information leaked were nuclear programmes and nuclear intentions.

Moreover, he had refused to comment in a press conference on what convinced him that the contents in the alleged letter were authentic.

Though Jaswants book has become a bestseller, doubts are being raised on his continuing for long as Opposition leader in the Rajya Sabha.

For, sources say that not only a large section of the BJP is upset over his revelations that has put the party on the backfoot, but even the RSS is unhappy over his stand on Jinnah and also on the prospects of his coming out with more books with topics such as Ayodhya.

However, Jaswant had some reprieve with RSS ideologue MG Vaidya coming in support of him and terming all allegations against him as ridiculous.

In his weekly column in Marathi daily Tarun Bharat, Vaidhya rubbishes allegations that Jaswant had taken Rs 900 crore and some explosives in a suitcase to hand over to the hijackers in Kandahar.

He, however, disapproved of Jaswants act of accompanying the three terrorists to Kandahar.

However, RSS mouthpiece Panchajanya has taken a contrary position in its latest edition and criticised Jaswant for keeping secret the identity of the mole for so long.