Battle over CBI: PM says it is not Congress mouthpiece (Roundup)

July 26th, 2010 - 9:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, July 26 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday strongly refuted the opposition charge about misuse of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) amid accusations by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that the Congress was using the premier probe agency as a “tool against its adversaries”.
The latest tiff between the government and the BJP over the functioning of the CBI intensified after the investigation agency decided to arrest Gujarat minister Amit Shah — a close of aide of Chief Minister Narendra Modi — in the 2005 killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, an alleged Islamist terror, in a staged shootout.

BJP president Nitin Gadkari called the agency “a political arm of the government”.

Manmohan Singh denied the charge.

“I refute the allegations against the CBI that it is being misused… (it) is not Congress bureau of investigation. CBI is not a mouthpiece of the Congress,” Manmohan Singh told reporters outside parliament before the beginning of the monsoon session.

He was answering questions on the BJP’s allegation that the Congress-led central government was behind the arrest of former Gujarat minister of state for home Amit Shah in the 2005 killing of Sheikh in an alleged staged shootout.

“There is no truth in that. Opposition knows that jolly well. Sohrabuddin Sheikh is a Supreme Court-directed case. The central government has no role in it,” the prime minister asserted.

He said that the government “has not tried to influence the investigation process in any way and I repeat it categorically, in any way”.

Sensing that the BJP would raise the issue in the coming days more loudly, the prime minister called upon the opposition parties to let parliament function smoothly and hoped that the monsoon session will be “peaceful and productive”.

But the BJP is reluctant to buy the prime minister’s argument.

Gadkari slammed the government in a press conference in Mumbai. He said: “The Congress is using the CBI as a tool against its adversaries… the CBI is a political arm of the UPA government.”

Gadkari pointed to the disproportionate assets case against Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati and the “escape” of the former Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson, the main accused in the Bhopal gas tragedy, as pointers to prove his point.

“The CBI is virtually a political instrument of the Congress party,” he said.

“The Sohrabuddin (case) investigation is to target the BJP (which rules Gujarat) while they conveniently forgot the involvement of the Andhra Pradesh government (Congress ruled). Their former chief minister YSR (Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy) was clearly involved in the arrest and encounter death of Sohrabuddin,” the BJP chief said.

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