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BJP And Congress In War Of Words On CWG Mess

New Delhi, Oct 19: A war of words broke out today between the BJP and Congress over corruption in Commonwealth Games with Nitin Gadkari bringing the PMO in the line of fire and demanding a
PTI October 19, 2010 22:30 IST
PTI

New Delhi, Oct 19: A war of words broke out today between the BJP and Congress over corruption in Commonwealth Games with Nitin Gadkari bringing the PMO in the line of fire and demanding a Parliamentary probe while the ruling party hit back saying he feared the probe will "reach upto him".

The heated political exchanges came on a day when the BJP president went all out against the UPA government on corruption in the games targeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his entire Cabinet accusing them of being responsible for the "mess".

At a hurriedly called press conference, Gadkari alleged that the Prime Minister himself sanctioned advances to the Organising Committee head Suresh Kalmadi.

"Are you not directly responsible for all this mess? Is the whole cabinet not responsible for CWG chaos and corruption?" he asked.

He alleged that the Union Cabinet did not try to verify the reasons behind the escalating costs.

"All types of increase in estimates were approved by the Cabinet sub-committee and the PMO. Before approving (the inflated costs), why did they not verify," Gadkari asked.

Gadkari alleged that several benami transactions have taken place and the Mauritius route has been used along with tax havens to avoid the actual identity.

He also demanded that Swiss bank accounts of those involved in corruption should be checked.

In a hard hitting response, the Congress said the BJP was trying to "divert" attention after its party leaders were "getting caught".

Congress spokeman Manish Tewari said Gadkari was "intimidated" because a number of his party leaders were in the ambit of investigation.

Gadkari shot back saying he was not concerned with searches or action against his party leaders and government was free to take any action if they were involved.

He also did not spare Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi and Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, saying as members of the OC they too were accountable.

"His (Suresh Kalmadi's) credentials are known to the country. What Kalmadi is and what he has done is known to everybody in the Congress party. Has the Prime Minister released these advances on his advice? And before releasing these advances why did he not follow the rules?" Gadkari asked.

Claiming to have documentary evidence, Gadkari said, "The first advances released to Kalmadi were by the Prime Minister. He has signed it. Why? and why was there no control over it."

Gadkari demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee(JPC) probe into all aspects of the Games, especially the role of the political leadership. He said the "concrete evidence" collected by the BJP would be submitted to the JPC.

He said the JPC demand would be raised by the BJP in Parliament in the ensuing winter session.

He said none of the party members who were part of the CWG Organising Committee were involved in the scam.

Tewari said "the personality of BJP President is that of a spoilt child who is prepared to go to any extent to focus attention on himself". PTI