The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Punjab scandal

Chandigarh, Feb. 17 (PTI): The two Punjab ministers named in an alleged sex racket in Gujarat today sought a probe into the allegations by a sitting or retired Supreme Court judge and described the charges as a “well-planned BJP conspiracy” with an eye on elections in Himachal Pradesh.

“Since we do not have any faith in any central or Gujarat agency, we are ready to face inquiry by a sitting or retired Supreme Court judge,” Punjab PWD minister Partap Singh Bajwa and revenue minister Amarjeet Singh Samre said at a joint press conference here.

Bajwa and Samre were meeting reporters a day after Gujarat minister of state for home Amit Shah alleged their involvement in a sex racket during the Gujarat elections.

The two ministers also announced their decision to file defamation suits for damages worth Rs 100 crore against Shah, adding that the Gujarat minister had “made out the conspiracy at the behest of chief minister Narendra Modi, who would be made a party in the case”.

Bajwa and Samre charged the BJP with engineering a “well-planned conspiracy” more than two months after the poll campaign in Gujarat.

“Since the BJP could not politically face the corruption exposures of our party against Himachal chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, it came out with this so-called exposure in confusion and fear,” they said.

Bajwa said there was not an “iota of truth” in the allegation and denied having met the third party, Arvinder Singh Lovely, said to be a Congress MLA in Gujarat during campaigning.

“First Pramod Mahajan charged former Congress minister in Himachal with idol thefts from temples, which was followed by Madan Lal Khurana’s allegations against Amarinder Singh and now the sex racket allegation,” he said.

The two ministers accused the BJP of having chalked out the conspiracy about 10 days ago in Delhi.

Answering a question, Bajwa said the Congress had not been able to identify the party member accused of having got a news item planted in a Jalandhar daily two months ago about the alleged sex scandal involving three politicians from Punjab during the Gujarat campaign.

The case is a desperate act of the BJP and it is not expected that the party can “stoop to its lowest ebb because of impending defeat” in Assembly polls in Himachal, Bajwa said.

He accused Modi of having cooked up the conspiracy in view of his forthcoming visit to Himachal, where he knew that Hindutva would not work.

“We will fight it out politically and legally,” the two ministers said. They would go to any extent, even if it means selling property, to deposit the 10 per cent court fee required to file a Rs 100-crore defamation suit, they added.

In Shimla, BJP MPs Suresh Chandel and Kripal Parmar demanded strict action against the two Punjab ministers. They asked Congress president Sonia Gandhi to take action against these ministers to uphold the standard of morality in public life.

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