The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Tehelka pulls out of probe

New Delhi, Dec. 8 (PTI): Tehelka news portal today said it would not participate in any commission of inquiry into alleged defence deals.

It said the appointment of a new judge in place of Justice Venkataswami was nothing but another “charade” by the government.

“We will not participate in any more commissions of inquiry. We have given everything. We have no desire to be part of another charade,” Tehelka managing editor Tarun Tejpal said.

The portal had already wasted more than two years on “truth exposed by it”, Tejpal said. The “appointment of a new judge to the commission, which the government has been able to successfully derail, will be just another charade and we do not want to be a part of it”, asserted the portal’s managing director.

“I do not think there is any need of a joint parliamentary committee probe into the exposé as demanded by many political parties,” Tejpal said.

“The best the government can do is to let Parliament form a cross-party committee to which the inquiry report by the judge (Venkataswami) on 15 actual defence deals be made available so that it can look into the issue.”

Justice Venkataswami resigned on November 23 in the wake of controversy about his accepting a government job while being head of the commission probing allegations of corruption in defence deals.

Asked why the portal decided to withdraw from the investigation process at this stage, Tejpal said: “We have neither the resource nor the will to pursue another charade. The truth is out there in the tapes. Most people have seen it and recognised it. Those who choose not to recognise are forced to do so.”

Early last year, Tehelka had carried out a sting operation that captured on tape politicians receiving donations and defence officials boasting about their ability to swing deals. Subsequently, a commission of inquiry was set up to look into the charges and motives of the portal.

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