The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Jogi cloud on party

New Delhi, July 16: Chhattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi appears to have dragged his party colleagues into his “Operation Black Sea” muddle.

After Jogi’s questioning by the CBI in Raipur last month, bureau officials called functionaries of the Congress’ media department for follow-up investigations. AICC media secretary Tom Vadakkaran and two others appeared before the CBI officials.

There were indications today that Ambika Soni, the AICC general secretary in charge of the media department, and Anand Sharma, an AICC spokesperson, might be called for questioning. A CBI spokesperson, however, declined to confirm this.

Sources in the Congress indicated that Jogi may have dragged the AICC in what is “essentially an issue between a chief minister and the central government”. Jogi is believed to have told his interrogators that the statement he issued at the news conference at the AICC headquarters three months ago was prepared by the party’s media department.

The statement detailed his allegation about the existence of an Intelligence Bureau-authored Operation Black Sea conspiracy to defame him and other Congress leaders. Immediately after the allegation, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee conveyed to Jogi that the alleged IB document on the existence of Operation Black Sea was forged and he had ordered a CBI inquiry.

The AICC seems in no mood to get entangled in the muddle. “It is unfair on Jogi’s part to have dragged the party in his battle,” said a source.

The party also expressed surprise at the way Jogi made a dramatic entry at the usual AICC media briefing to make the “sensational disclosure”, though the chief minister insisted that he had Sonia Gandhi’s approval to go public with his allegation.

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