New Delhi: The government and the BJP on Monday locked horns over the CAG report on Commonwealth Games but senior ministers rejected any wrongdoing by the PMO or Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, contending that neither has been indicted. READ MORE: BJP politicising CAG report: Delhi Govt (Agencies)
Parliament was stalled by an aggressive Opposition with BJP taking the lead in demanding Dikshit's resignation on the ground that she and her government had been thoroughly indicted by the CAG over several irregularities in the Games projects.
In the midst of a stand-off, the government agreed for a discussion on Tuesday on the statement by Sports Minister Ajay Maken, whom the Opposition has accused of misleading Parliament on appointment of Suresh Kalmadi as CWG Organising Committee Chairman.
With both Houses of Parliament not transacting any business, the battle was fought outside with the BJP targeting the PMO, Dikshit and Maken and announcing that it would not allow the government "even single moment of relief" till an FIR is filed against Dikshit and made to resign.
The Congress party and the government hit back and put up a strong defence of the PMO, Dikshit as well as Maken. The party went a step further and attacked the CAG on "leaks and squeaks" and questioned its jurisdiction on policy issues.
Senior Ministers Kapil Sibal, Salman Khurshid and Ambika Soni contended that there has been no indictment of the PMO or Dikshit in the CAG report. There are only references to them and that does not mean indictment, they said.
Sibal virtually ruled out resignations on the basis of CAG report references, saying such a demand would make the government dysfunctional in Parliament. (The Union Ministers said the Opposition should allow Constitutional processes to play themselves out and not disrupt Parliament even before that.
They said they were prepared for any discussion in Parliament on issues but the Opposition should allow the House to run.
"The simple fact is the CAG report goes to the Public Accounts Committee (of Parliament) which recommends action and then Parliament comes into picture and action is taken," Sibal said and wondered how the Opposition could straightaway make demands on the basis of the report.
The Ministers also appealed to the media to exercise self regulation, regretting that it was reporting indictment of the PMO and Dikshit when there was none.
"I do not think that there is an indictment of the PMO in the (CAG) report. There is no indictment. There is only a reference...only a statement of facts," Sibal said.
Echoing Sibal, Soni said, "There may be reference to different people but reference does not mean indictment. There is no indictment of any high office much less of the PMO."
Sibal, however, steered clear of questions on whether he could categorically say that there was no indictment of Dikshit in the CAG report saying, "We have not read the full report. You should let us know if there is any particular passage which you find as indictment (of Dikshit)."
Asked why action was taken against Telecom Minister A Raja even before the CAG report in the 2G spectrum allocation scam was tabled in Parliament, he said, "If in one case, the process was not followed, it does not become a Constitutional
BJP sharpened its attack against Maken and said the CAG report makes it clear that Manmohan Singh's PMO was responsible for Kalmadi's appointment.
Senior party leader Yashwant Sinha said he had moved a motion to suspend the Question Hour in Lok Sabha to discuss the suo motu statement made by Maken on August 2 amid the din in Lok Sabha.
"My second notice was a breach of privilege by Maken in the sense that he had misled the House by concealing a great deal of information," the former Minister said.
His party spokesmen Tarun Vijay and Shahnawaz Hussain demanded that an FIR be registered against Dikshit in the wake of "irregularities" pointed out by the CAG.
Unfazed by the Privilege Motion against him, Maken maintained that Kalmadi's appointment as OC chief was done during the NDA rule, saying he was "100 per cent sure and 100 per cent right on facts".
He said the Host City contract signed during NDA rule led to the appointment of Kalmadi and the UPA government could do nothing about it.
"The IOA on November 1, 2004, benefiting from the Host City contract, elected - not selected, not recommended - Suresh Kalmadi as Organising Committee chairman and the people who elected Kalmadi as Organising Committee chairman were Vijay Kumar Malhotra, Abhay Chautala, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Tarlochan Singh -- all from the NDA," he said.
"I am surprised and appalled by the privilege motion because I still stick to my statement which I made in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha," he said outside Parliament House.
On her part, Dikshit was dismissive about the Opposition demands for her resignation, saying "let them demand".
She refused to comment on the developments in Parliament.
New Delhi: The government and the BJP on Monday locked horns over the CAG report on Commonwealth Games but senior ministers rejected any wrongdoing by the PMO or Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, contending that neither has been indicted.
READ MORE: BJP politicising CAG report: Delhi Govt