Saturday, August 4, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

UTI crisis resolved
JPC on stock scam also to probe muddle
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 3
Lok Sabha Speaker G.M.C. Balayogi today announced that the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) inquiring into the stock market scam, headed by BJP member Prakash Mani Tripathi, would also probe the UTI muddle.

A decision on this was taken after the Speaker convened a meeting of leaders of different parties to resolve the issue, a day after the Opposition-sponsored adjournment motion on the UTI fiasco was defeated in the Lok Sabha.

Mr Balayogi said after hearing views of all parties, as also those of Mr Tripathi, it was decided that all issues relating to the UTI would be considered by the JPC. “The JPC will now proceed accordingly.”

Earlier, relenting under the continued Opposition pressure, the government had offered to include allegations on the US-64 scheme of the UTI into the terms of reference of the Joint Parliamentary Committee probing the stock scam.

Responding to Congress member P.R. Dasmunshi’s mention during zero hour, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pramod Mahajan suggested that the JPC, headed by Lok Sabha MP Prakash Mani Tripathi, could also look into the US-64 related allegations.

Mr Mahajan said he shared the concerns of members on the need to protect the interests of small investors and stated that the terms of reference of the JPC included the issue of protection of small investors.

He suggested that a meeting be called of leaders of all opposition parties and the Chairman of the JPC to see whether the committee could address the concerns.

Raising the issue during zero hour, Mr Dasmunshi said the hard-earned money of small investors had gone down the drain and the culprits responsible for the US-64 mess should be brought to book.

BJP member Vijay Kumar Goel said if the Opposition was so keen to know the government’s response, why had it prevented Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha from giving his reply to the UTI debate in the House last night.

Congress deputy leader Madhavrao Scindia sought the intervention of the Speaker to resolve the issue.

CPM leader Somnath Chatterjee said the issue was “serious” and some method had to be found to look into it.

Meanwhile, the JPC would seek an extension as the decision to entrust it with the investigation into the UTI muddle would add to its already pending work, Mr Tripathi said today.

“We will seek an extension as a lot of areas need to be covered. Moreover, the decision to entrust us with the probe into the UTI affairs will enlarge our area of work,” he said.

“The cancellation of some meetings due to pre-occupation of members has also prompted us to seek the extension,” he said.


Cong welcomes decision
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 3
The Congress today welcomed the decision announced by Lok Sabha Speaker G.M.C. Balayogi that issues related to the Unit Trust of India in the House would be considered by the Joint Parliamentary Committee constituted to probe the stock market scam.

Party chief spokesperson Jaipal Reddy said the Speaker’s announcement had not only clarified the role of the JPC but amplified its scope.

Replying to questions, he said the JPC would examine the role of the Prime Minister’s Office in the UTI scam. Officials and the immediate family of the Prime Minister would also be examined, he added.

However, Mr Reddy said the Congress would continue to agitate to press for the resignation of Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha. “His continuance in office is a blot on the fair name of India’s democracy...What is more is that his continuance will strain our fragile economy further,” he said.

Mr Reddy alleged that the Finance Minister was continuing because the Prime Minister could not afford to ask him to go. “The strongest point of Mr Sinha is that he knows too much for the Prime Minister to give marching orders to him. It seems as if the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister are subtly blackmailing each other for mutual survival,” he alleged.

Mr Reddy termed as “laughable” the explanation given by Mr Ranjan Bhattacharya, foster son-in-law of the Prime Minister, regarding his conversations with the former UTI chief Mr Bhattacharya had said that during his five conversations with the former UTI chief, the issue of redemption of money in a UTI scheme was discussed.

Replying to questions, Mr Reddy said at today’s all-party meeting in the Speaker’s chamber, the Congress did press for an amendment to the terms of reference of the JPC probing the stock market scam. However, the Congress, he said, was satisfied after the Speaker’s announcement that all issues discussed in the House relating to UTI would be considered by the JPC.


Subramanyam denied bail

P. S. Subramanyam, former Chairman of the Unit Trust of India
P. S. Subramanyam, former Chairman of the Unit Trust of India, arrives amidst heavy security at a court in Bombay on Friday. — Reuters photo

Mumbai, August 3
Former Unit Trust of India Chairman P.S. Subramanyam, the Mutual Fund’s suspended executive directors and stock broker Rakesh Mehta, held on the charge of misappropriating Rs 32 crore, were today remanded in judicial custody till August 7 by a special court which rejected their bail plea.

CBI prosecutor Gopal Sharan pleaded that the agency had come across vital documents and needed Subramanyam’s custody to confront him with these papers. Besides, he said, the CBI had to collect details of conversations Subramanyam had with some persons on his mobile phone on August 2.

The CBI opposed their bail plea on the ground that the accused had close nexus with co-accused Arvind Johari, promoter of Cyberspace Infosys Ltd, the main beneficiary in UTI scam. Johari is now in CBI custody. The CBI said their links with Johari vis-a-vis other public financial institutions and even Jardines, a foreign company, needed to be probed.

Urging for bail, defence lawyers, said the accused were already in custody since last 14 days and all documents had been seized. PTI

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