The Telegraph
Thursday , October 12 , 2017

Sinha bells the morality cat

- BJP has lost high ground after report on Jay: Veteran

Yashwant Sinha

Patna, Oct. 11: BJP veteran Yashwant Sinha today said the party had lost the "high moral ground" on corruption after revelations linked to a company owned by Jay Amitbhai Shah, the son of the BJP national president.

"The BJP has lost its high moral ground," said Sinha, referring to the revelations made by a news portal.

The Wire, a news portal, had reported that the turnover of the company had risen 16,000 times in a year. Jay has filed a criminal defamation case against the portal.

Sinha condemned the way railway minister Piyush Goyal had stepped forward in defence of party president Amit Shah's son. "The way a central minister gave clarifications while reacting to the news, it appeared that he was the chartered accountant of the company and not a Union minister," said Sinha, a former Union finance minister who had recently blamed the policies of the Narendra Modi government for the economic "mess". Goyal, who addressed the media on Sunday and Monday, is a chartered accountant by training.

Sinha, who was speaking to reporters after paying homage to Jayaprakash Narayan on the socialist icon's birth anniversary, said he was not hopeful of any inquiry by the government on the points raised in the report.

"What can one expect from the government? The Government of India does not want to conduct any inquiry into the case," he said.

"Without going into the merit of the story published by the news portal, I would say that there are a few things which do not look normal. The news item appeared on October 8 whereas the additional solicitor-general (Tushar Mehta) got the government's permission for representing a private individual on October 6 itself," the former minister added.

The senior leader raised questions about the defamation case filed against the news portal, terming it an attempt to curb the independence of the media.

"Attempts should not be made to curb the independence of media and filing such cases is a signal that efforts were being made to curb this independence."

Sinha did not explicitly demand Amit Shah's resignation, pointing out that "such decisions depended on the conscience of the individual holding the post". But he did not forget to cite the example of L.K. Advani who had quit all posts when fingers were initially raised against him in the hawala case.

Advocate absent

In Ahmedabad, a metropolitan court today adjourned the hearing of the criminal defamation case filed by Jay as the complainant's senior advocate was not present in the court, PTI reported.

A lawyer for Jay Shah sought time from additional chief metropolitan magistrate S.K. Gadhvi, saying senior advocate S.V. Raju could not be present as he was busy in the high court.

The court granted time and adjourned the hearing to October 16.

Jay is yet to file a civil defamation suit against the respondents. He had earlier announced that he would also file a Rs 100-crore civil defamation suit.

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