No JPC on phone tapping, IPL: PM

April 26th, 2010 - 10:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, April 26 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday rejected opposition demands for a parliamentary probe on the alleged tapping of phones of prominent politicians and the row involving the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL), issues that have stalled parliament’s functioning.
“I don’t think there is need for a JPC (joint parliamentary committee). This is not a fit case for JPC,” the prime minister told reporters on the sidelines of a defence investiture ceremony.

“A JPC is a very serious issue. We can’t rush to such a conclusion in haste,” Manmohan Singh added.

He also noted that Home Minister P. Chidambaram had already stated the government position on the phone tapping issue.

“I was also ready to come before parliament but there was restlessness,” Manmohan Singh added.

The prime minister was to have made a statement in the Lok Sabha at 3.30 p.m. but this fell through after a restless opposition forced the adjournment of the house for the day on its demand for a JPC. This was the third adjournment of the house Monday. Similar scenes were also witnessed in the Rajya Sabha, forcing three adjournments, the final one for the day.

Earlier, in identical statements in both houses, Chidambaram said that the government had investigated but found “nothing to substantiate” the phone tapping allegations reported in Outlook news magazine.

“I wish to state categorically that no telephone tapping or eavesdropping of political leaders was authorised by the previous UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government. Nor has the present UPA government authorised any such activity,” Chidambaram maintained.

He said the allegations in the story were “thoroughly” inquired into after the magazine hit the stands late Friday. “Nothing has been found in the records to substantiate the allegations.”

Outlook had said the government was tapping the telephones of Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Prakash Karat and Congress leader Digvijay Singh.

Parliament’s functioning was stalled Friday with the opposition demanding a JPC on the functioning of the IPL and allegations of corruption in the auction of the Kochi franchise, an issue that cost junior foreign minister Shashi Tharoor his job.

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