Saturday, March 19, 2011

Govt can't confirm veracity of cables leaked by WikiLeaks: PM

PTI | Mar 18, 2011, 02.44pm IST   

NEW DELHI: Refusing to buckle under attack over the Wikileaks expose, Prime MinisterManmohan Singh today rubbished charges of bribery during the 2008 Trust Vote based on "speculative and unverified" cables and asserted that no one from Congress or government engaged in any "unlawful act". 

Making a statement in both Houses of Parliament, an assertive Singh hit out at the Opposition for lending "dignity" to "purported" correspondence between the US Embassy here and State Department in Washington and raising "old charges that have been debated, discussed and rejected by the people of India." 

Amid thumping of desks by the Treasury Benches, he said, "No one from the Congress party or government indulged in any unlawful act" during the July 2008 Confidence Motion. 

"An issue was raised that the offence of bribery was committed in India. Government rejects the allegations absolutely and firmly," he said, referring to the charges in the Wikileaks that bribes were paid to win the Confidence Motion of UPA-I after Left withdrew support over Indo-US nuclear deal. 

Raising questions over the cables cited by the Wikileaks website, the Prime Minister said in identical statements in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha that, "The government cannot confirm the veracity, content or even the existence of such communication." 

To press his contention, he said those who have been named by the Wikileaks have "stoutly rejected" the charges. 

Hitting out at the Opposition, he said it was "unfortunate" that it continues to raise the "old charges". 

"It is most surprising that speculative, unverified and unverifiable communications should be given dignity and seized upon by the Opposition parties to revive old charges that have been soundly rejected," Singh said. 

He pointed out that the UPA-I had won the Confidence Motion in July 2008 with 275 votes in favour and 256 against. 

These allegations of bribery were investigated by a committee of the 14th Lok Sabha which concluded that there was insufficient evidence to draw any conclusion. 

"I am disappointed that the Opposition has forgotten what happened thereafter. The Opposition repeated the allegations of bribery and how did the people respond," he said, citing the increase in Congress seats from 141 to 206 in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls as compared to BJP whose tally declined from 138 to 116 and that of Left parties from 59 to 34," he said. 

No comments:

Post a Comment