The faction-ridden Congress suffered a huge embarrassment on Thursday after the ruling BJP released a document that it claimed was the opposition partys draft corruption chargesheet against the government,which the Congress,despite its frequent claims,has not been able to put out for the past year.
State BJP president Satpal Satti distributed copies of the document to a group of mediaperons,at a hurriedly called press conference,and dared the Congress to come out with the original chargesheet,if it was serious on its role as an Opposition party.
The document has a list of unsubstantiated charges of corruption and irregularities that party had already highlighted either in the state Assembly during the last budget session or outside. Most of the charges,approximately 55 in number,are vague while a few are prominent ones like the private universities issue,illegal land sales,irregularities in hydro-power projects allotments,undue benefits to Jaypee group and the Annandale issue.
The Congress,however,was quick to disown the document. Its not our chargesheet. We have already submitted one to the party high command for scrutiny by the AICCs legal department. The charge-sheet with the Congress High Command is properly documented and signed. Does this one carry my signature anywhere? said G S Bali,a former minister,who headed the Congress chargesheet committee.
Satti on the other hand asserts that the document was procured from friends in the Congress,who,he adds,were only too willing to pass on the paper to the BJP. If there exists any chargesheet,I would like the Congress to make it public in next two days or get ready to face defamation charges for raising noise about the BJP government on corruption and illegal land sales. The Congress has no issue in hand and thus could not prepare the chargesheet. Whatever it has done is just a symbolic exercise based on speculation and conjecture, Satti added.
The issue of the Congress inability to produce the document for a year has received criticism even from within the party.
Union minister Virbhadra Singh had raised questions about the PCCs inability to prepare the chargesheet and really pin the BJP government down on corruption issues.
The Congress,however,admitted that the BJPs bid to embarrass it has strengthened the partys resolve. PCC president Kaul Singh Thakur said the party would now get down to a serious job of exposing corruption in the government through mass mobilisation.