New Delhi, Aug. 4: The National Democratic Alliance is considering bringing a breach of privilege motion against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the “leak” of the R.S. Pathak authority report to the media.
NDA leaders are to meet here on Monday to take a decision. L.K. Advani, leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, alleged today that the report was “selectively leaked” to convey that the Congress has been exonerated in the Volcker scandal.
The BJP is harping on the fact that the Prime Minister had said that when the Pathak report comes out, it would first be tabled in Parliament.
Justice Pathak had yesterday said he gave the report in a sealed envelope to Singh.
“It is a case of selected leak to the media to give an impression that the authority has indicted Natwar Singh and exonerated the Congress,” Advani said.
However, the ground for a breach of privilege motion is thin. First, the Pathak authority is not a full-fledged commission under the Commission of Inquiry Act and the government is not bound to table its report in Parliament.
Advani pointed to the government’s claim that the authority has all the provisions of a commission of inquiry.
Secondly, the BJP has no evidence that the report was leaked by the Prime Minister. “We are going to discuss the issue among several other matters of importance in the meeting on Monday. There is no evidence to suggest it was leaked by the PMO,” a leader said.
The BJP’s deputy leader in the Lok Sabha, V.K. Malhotra, said “the proposal for a privilege motion would definitely be considered” in the Monday morning meeting.
Advani has made three charges:
The Congress “misused” its authority to get its name cleared
Natwar has been made a scapegoat
Natwar carried a letter from Sonia Gandhi to Saddam Hussein when he went to Iraq. The suggestion is that money was taken on behalf of the Congress chief.
The BJP leader was grilled by the media, which asked if his allegation that the Congress had got itself exonerated meant that he doubted Justice Pathak’s integrity.
“I never said that, did not imply that at all. I only said that we do not know if the Enforcement Directorate and the special envoy, Virendra Dayal, have shared with Justice Pathak all the papers in their possession and all their findings.”
Advani was also asked to clarify if he thought that Natwar was innocent. “There is no question of claiming that. When this scandal first surfaced, I had said, ‘Congress ka lafda hai, Natwar Singh to bakra hai (It is a scam involving the Congress, Natwar is only a scapegoat)’.
“What I am saying now is that events and developments of the past few months seem to prove this suspicion right,” he said.