National Herald case: Narendra Modi can’t be targetted, says Prashant Bhushan

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December 21, 2015 10:37 PM

Swaraj Abhiyan leader Prashant Bhushan today said Prime Minister Narendra Modi cannot be targetted for the National Herald case which was a court battle and also for the CBI raid on the office of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's Principal Secretary.

Swaraj Abhiyan leader Prashant Bhushan today said Prime Minister Narendra Modi cannot be targetted for the National Herald case which was a court battle and also for the CBI raid on the office of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Principal Secretary.

Bhushan, a former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader, said Congress should not cry political vendetta in the National Herald case.

Speaking to PTI, he pitched for a probe by an independent investigating agency into alleged financial irregularities in DDCA over which AAP is gunning for Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s resignation.

Bhushan said resignation of Jaitley, who had headed the DDCA, could not be sought on the grounds of mere allegations, without any evidence substantiating them.

“The National Herald case and Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) scam are not matters for which Narendra Modi can be targeted and held responsible…,” he said, noting that it was a court battle.

“In the National Herald case either… In this case, the court has given summons to Sonia and Rahul Gandhi,” he said.

Bhushan said Modi cannot be held responsible for raids on Kejriwal’s Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar’s office, as it is an offshoot of a complaint filed by Ashish Joshi, former member-secretary of Delhi Dialogue Commission, alleging serious financial irregularities.

In his complaint on July 13, 2015, Joshi had alleged that Kumar set up various companies when he was Director of Education from May 2002 to February 2005 and later Secretary, IT and Health, and Commissioner, VAT, and awarded work orders of departments to these companies without floating tenders, resulting in loss to government exchequer.

Replying to a query, Bhushan said the linking of DDCA with raid on Kumar is far-fetched.

“To link DDCA issue with the raid on Kumar seems to me totally far-fetched… It is a legitimate investigation because the charges are very serious. Therefore, in that connection the CBI is free to conduct raids,” he argued.

Following a CBI raid in Delhi Secretariat in connection with charges against Kumar, AAP has been claiming that the central agency carried out the searches to target the AAP chief and was looking for a file relating to alleged graft in DDCA. Since then, the party has been demanding resignation of Jaitley.

“Jaitely may have several problems, but just by making allegations against him for irregularities in DDCA during his presidency and without any clear evidence, cannot be the grounds for him to resign,” he said.

Replying to a query, Bhushan said the Kejriwal-led party has gone off from its anti-corruption plank.

“The last straw in that was the farcical Jan Lokpal Bill that Delhi government has brought which has no relationship whatsoever to the Jan Lokpal Bill drafted during Anna Movement,” he said.

“This bill betrays all these basic principles of an independent Lokpal because it sets up a Lokpal which is going to be set up by political class. His removal will be controlled by political class who has no financial autonomy, and who has no transparency in his functioning,” he said.

However, Bhushan did not spare Modi, holding him responsible for ‘intolerance’ and spreading of communalism.

“So far as intolerance and communalism are concerned, ultimately Narendra Modi must be held responsible because he controls the government as well as the BJP.

“These acts of intolerance or willfully spreading communal hatred by ground-level forces of the Sangh Parivar cannot happen if Modi does not want it to happen or if Modi took firm step to put it down, which he is not doing,” he said.

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