A major controversy erupted today over a ‘fake’ letter being written by MPs to US President Barack Obama seeking denial of visa to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi with some MPs denying having signed it.
Latching on to denials by CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury,DMK MP K P Ramalingam and CPI MP M P Achutan,a BJP lawmaker wrote to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar urging for a probe into alleged forgery of signatures. The party also accused the Congress’ “dirty tricks department” of being behind it and demanded a probe.
Sudarshan Bhagat,BJP MP from Lohardaga,Jharkhand,today wrote a letter to the Speaker saying that some MPs have said they have not signed the letter to Obama. “These are serious charges and amount to forgery. I have demanded that the Speaker should order an impartial inquiry and action should be taken against those responsible,” he said. Yechury,whose purported signature was appended to the letter by 25 Rajya Sabha members,today issued a statement denying having signed any letter to Obama. “I don’t remember having signed any such letter… It suggests some cut and paste job,” he said.
“I deny having signed any such letter. It is neither in my character nor in the principles of my party- the CPI(M)- to petition any sovereign country on matters that fall strictly within the sovereign domain of that country,” he said in a statement here. “It is this very principle that leads us to strongly oppose and denounce any external interference into India’s internal affairs undermining its sovereignty,” Yechury said.
Ramalingam,DMK MP,denied having signed any such letter. He said he always signed in Tamil. But he had no reply when it was told to him that his purported signature was in Tamil. Achutan,a Rajya Sabha member from Kerala,also denied writing to Obama. “To be frank,I don’t remember writing to Obama,” he said. However,Mohammad Adeeb,Independent MP,who took the initiative for the campaign,denied Yechury’s allegation. “Sitaram Yechury personally signed the letter in Rajya Sabha in front of me with his pen. I am ready to face any inquiry and any investigation into the matter,” he said. “Yechury should have contacted me and asked me what is the problem. Then he has gone to the media which is hurting…,” Adeeb said.
Describing Yechury as one of the finest parliamentarians and a good human being,he said the CPI-M leader signed on the paper with the whole substance enclosed. He maintained that for three-four days he had painstakingly done the job of collecting the signatures himself and hoped his Lok Sabha colleagues also did the same. 40 Lok Sabha and 25 Rajya Sabha MPs had reportedly signed the letter to the US President. Yechury observed that much of this controversy has taken place in “cyberspace”. “The one circulating in cyberspace,now many months after it was continued…
BJP leaders Prabhat Jha, Shahnawaz Hussain and Krishnapal Gujar also addressed a number of rallies.