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Wednesday, December 30, 1998
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PM 'tolerating' Jaya

CHENNAI, Dec 29 (PTI) — Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi today accused Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee of ‘tolerating’ the corruption committed by AIADMK chief Jayalalitha in order to remain in power.

He told reporters here the recent statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) with regard to tackling corruption had "shattered" his hopes that Mr Vajpayee would uphold high standards in public life.

The PMO statement had said that while the Centre would not tolerate corruption, it would not allow "witch hunting" against any individual.

He also charged the BJP-led coalition with adopting "contradictory stances" regarding the investigation of corruption cases against Bihar Chief Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav and Jayalalitha.

The Centre’s current stand that it alone had the powers to allocate cases to special judges in Chennai had come in handy for Jayalalitha, who was trying her level best to delay the judicial process for the past one year, he added.

Asked to comment on Attorney-General Soli Sorabjee’s submission in the Supreme Court that the Centre alone had the power to allocate cases among the special judges, Mr Karunanidhi said "I do not want to enter into the legality of the question. It is for legal experts to examine the issue. I do not want to make any comments now as the matter is sub judice," he said.

He said the state had already replied to the Centre’s letter on the allocation of cases against Jayalalitha to different special judges. However, he refused to release copies of the letters on the plea that it was "sub judice".

He said the Additional Solicitor General had stated in the Madras High Court that the state had powers to transfer cases. A Division Bench of the Madras High Court had also upheld the state’s action, he pointed out.

On the remarks of former CBI Director Jogender Singh that a minister from Tamil Nadu had forced him to register a case against Jayalalitha on the three lakh U.S $ case, Mr Karunanidhi said former Union Minister of State S.R. Balasubramaniam had already explained the actual position.

The Chief Minister said that Jayalalitha, during interrogation by CBI officials, had admitted she did not know from where the draft had come. She had also stated that the amount had been deposited in her personal account on the advice of her chartered accountant.

The Janata Party today supported the AIADMK contention that only Centre had the powers to allocate corruption cases among special judges in Tamil Nadu.

Party president Dr Subramanian Swamy told reporters here that the special courts should forthwith stop hearing in the corruption cases against AIADMK chief Jayalalitha and her erstwhile ministerial colleagues and the Tamil Nadu government should seek the Centre’s permission before proceeding further in these cases.

Replying to a question Swamy said the Prime Minister should intervene if the Union Law Minister Thambi Durai did not give his concurrence for allocation of cases to special courts.

Swamy said the Tamil Nadu government was yet to give a "convincing explanation" as to why it was found necessary to transfer Jayalalitha’s cases from the Principal Sessions Court (which was also a designated special court) to newly appointed special courts without obtaining Centre’s approval under Section 4 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Swamy also criticised the Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) for submitting a memorandum to the President on the appointment of special courts.

Asked if he thought the Karunanidhi government in Tamil Nadu was trying to slow down the cases against Jayalalitha, Swamy said he was only saying that the state government had not handled the law point properly. "I am going by the law alone".

He said he fully endorsed the AIADMK MPs submitting a memorandum to the President seeking dismissal of the Tamil Nadu government for allegedly usurping Centre’s powers. The President had powers to refer the matter to the Union Cabinet to seek its view points.

On the charges made by the TMC that Centre was attempting to interfere with judicial process, the Janata Party leader said the BJP-led government at the Centre had not helped Jayalalitha at all but instead was showing favours to the TMC by blocking all his efforts to bring to book some TMC leaders on corruption charges.

The Centre was yet to give permission to the CBI to inquire into the corruption charges made by him against a Central minister, he added.back


PM invites Prof Amartya Sen
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Dec 29 — The Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, has invited Nobel laureate Amartya Sen for discussing development and economic issues.

Briefing reporters, the BJP Vice-President, Mr K.L. Sharma, said that Mr Vajpayee has written a letter to Prof Sen inviting him for a meeting with him. The exact time and the venue of the meeting would be decided with mutual consultations, he said.

Mr Sharma said that Prof Sen’s suggestions would be useful to the Government. The Government would give serious considerations to Prof Sen’s suggestions on development and economic issues.

The Prime Minister’s invitation assumes significance in the wake of the VHP chief, Mr Ashok Singhal’s criticism of Prof Sen in Jaipur this week. Mr Vajpayee decided to write a letter to Prof Sen to silence the BJP’s critics.

At the same time, Mr Vajpayee has made a conscious effort to distance the BJP-led coalition Government from the Sangh Parivar, the sources said.back

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