Saturday, February 17, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Sonia rules out pact with BJP in West Bengal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 16
The Congress high command, under growing pressure from a section of Congressmen in West Bengal to go in for “mahajot”, today declared that it would evolve the “best electoral strategy” to defeat the CPM but ruled out any truck with the BJP.

“Our stand is clear.... We cannot have a tie-up with any one having alliance with the BJP, “the AICC General Secretary, in charge of West Bengal, Mr Kamal Nath, told reporters after a delegation of pro-mahajot Congress MLAs led by senior leader Saugata Roy met Mrs Sonia Gandhi.

Asserting that there was no change in the Congress stand with regard to mahajot, Mr Kamal Nath said the party would continue to discuss the matter with all Congressmen from the state to evolve the best possible strategy to defeat the CPM in the Assembly poll.

This was the second meeting the pro-mahajot leaders had with Mrs Sonia Gandhi to discuss the strategy on the formation of a grand alliance to defeat the CPM in the Assembly elections.

The delegation included Roy and former Union Minister A.B.A.Ghani Khan Choudhary, Sital Sardar, Baby Noor, sister of Mr Choudhary, Paresh Pal and Savitri Mitra. Except for Mr Choudhary, others also had a meeting with Mr Kamal Nath.

Roy later said the Congress legislators briefed Mrs Sonia Gandhi about the need to defeat the Left Front government in the Assembly elections. The legislators remained firm on their demand for a tie-up with the Trinamool Congress to defeat the Left Front.

This was the second meeting of the party leaders from West Bengal with the high command. They are scheduled to meet Mrs Sonia Gandhi and Mr Kamal Nath again.

Ruling out a tie-up with anybody having an alliance with the BJP, Mr Kamal Nath said there was no change in the party’s position on ‘mahajot’.

Roy was among the 19 Congress MLAs from the state who had written a letter to Mrs Sonia Gandhi urging her to give a go-ahead with the Trinamool despite its alliance with the BJP. 


SC upholds order in Soren case

New Delhi, February 16
The Supreme Court today upheld a Delhi High Court order dismissing a petition by former JMM Member of Parliament Shibu Soren seeking quashing of an FIR lodged by the CBI against him for acquiring assets disproportionate to known sources of his income.

In the impugned order dated January 1 this year, the high court said, “At this stage, we will not like to interfere with the investigations by the CBI.”

A Division Bench comprising Mr Justice G.B. Pattanaik and Mr Justice U.C. Bannerjee also reiterated the stand taken by the high court while dismissing the Special Leave Petition (SLP) against the high court order.

“The lawmakers pounce upon even those who take one rupee bribe. Why should this court, therefore, at this stage scuttle the investigation in a case of acquiring illegally huge assets,” the judges observed.

The court also turned down the plea of senior counsel P.P. Rao, appearing for Mr Soren, seeking permission to withdraw the SLP.

While convicting former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao and others in the JMM bribery case, the special judge expressed the opinion that the apex court judgement, upholding the immunity under Article 105(2) to the bribe takers from prosecution for offences under Section 7 and 13(2) read with Section 13(1)(d) of the PCA and conspiracy for committing the said offences, would not be available for the offence under Section 13(1)(e) of the Act provided its investigations were made out after going into the relevant material and records. UNI

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