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Parliament adjourned over Volcker drama

By Onkar Singh in New Delhi
Last updated on: August 04, 2006 15:14 IST
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Both houses of Parliament were adjourned on Friday after the Opposition raised the leakage of Justice R S Pathak's report on the Volcker Commission findings in the oil-for-food scam to the media before it was tabled in Parliament, and said this was a clear case of breach of Parliament's privilege.

The Opposition charged that there was a clear case of breach of privilege against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as the report was leaked a day after Justice Pathak handed over the report to Dr Singh.

Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh wanted to know how the Congress can be given a clean chit while the minister in its government, K Natwar Singh, was indicted for the scam. He alleged that junior lawyers in ministers Kapil Sibal and P Chidambaram's office assisted Justice Pathak in formulating the final report.

Sibal, when asked about this, denied the allegation. "I have not even had a lawyer for the last several months. Where is the question of my juniors assisting Justice Pathak?" He even refused to confirm the details of the report's findings which appeared in the media, claiming that since he had not seen the report, how could he comment.

Former external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha, of the Bharatiya Janata Party, said it was a deliberate leak by the government with an eye to fix Natwar Singh.

Natwar Singh had claimed that Finance Minister P Chidambaram's office had leaked the details of the report to the media.

Meanwhile, the BJP also launched an attack levelling corruption charges against Sonia Gandhi.

Being at the receiving end for the past week over the 'mole' issue, the BJP was on the offensive to pin down the government both in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

The surcharged members from BJP stormed the well raising slogans against Sonia.

The Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the day shortly after noon following uproarious scenes.

In Lok Sabha, Speaker Somnath Chatterjee allowed an impromptu discussion after Opposition members attacked the government over the "leakage" of the report ahead of its tabling in Parliament.

The response by Parliamentary Affairs Minister P R Dasmunsi that the government has not leaked the report only drew vociferous protests from the Opposition benches.

The BJP and other Opposition members have strongly contended that the Congress party, which has been named along with Natwar Singh as a non-contractual beneficiary, could not be let off the hook without strictures.

With PTI Inputs

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi