‘Parliament inquiry into cash-for-vote a waste of time’

July 30th, 2008 - 4:26 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Somnath Chatterjee

New Delhi, July 30 (IANS) Calling the probe by a seven-member parliamentary committee into the cash-for-vote scam “a waste of time”, former central minister Ram Jethmalani appealed to Speaker Somnath Chatterjee to hand over the investigation to an agency with statutory powers. “The appointed committee can do nothing and it’s just a waste of time. The investigation should be handed over to an agency with statutory powers or could be heard before a magistrate,” Jethmalani said Tuesday evening during a discussion on “Falling ethical standards of parliamentarians” at the India International Centre (IIC) here.

The seven-member Lok Sabha committee, which was formed to probe the allegations by three Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs that they had been bribed to abstain during the July 22 trust vote, began its first meeting Wednesday amid demands from the opposition that the panel be made more representative.

Jethmalani Tuesday wrote to the speaker requesting him not to give the tapes to anybody or allow CNN-IBN television channel to air it.

“The speaker should not come under pressure from political parties, who are demanding for making the tapes public. The airing of the tapes will easily give people involved in the act the chance to manipulate things,” Jethamalani said.

“The tape should only be made public after statements of those accused, victims and witnesses are recorded,” he added.

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