Wednesday, February 19, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Modi joins issue with Capt
Says directive to ministers against law
Tribune News Service

Shimla, February 18
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, has taken serious note of the advice given by the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to his ministers, allegedly involved in the sex scandal, not to cooperate with any agency of Gujarat in investigation of the case, saying it is tantamount to defying the Constitution. 

Addressing a press conference, here today, he said it was shocking that one constitutional authority was trying to challenge the authority of the other. The Congress President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, should be concerned at the actions of her Chief Minister. In fact, she should have acted against the guilty ministers as soon as the scandal surfaced about two months ago. Her silence on the issue was deplorable, he said.

He denied the charge that the case was politically motivated and raked up with an eye on the Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh. He said it was reported in the media during the Gujarat poll. However, his government did not want to take action merely on the basis of news reports and it waited for the investigations to be completed. Some accused, who had been taken into custody, named the Punjab ministers during the course of investigation.

In the meantime, a call girl racket was busted. During raids conducted on various hotels in this connection, photographs of a Punjab minister along with the person who booked the rooms and air tickets for them were found.

He said the actions of the accused ministers only strengthened the suspicion of their involvement in the case. They were refusing to join investigations and threatening to file defamation cases. Replying to a question, he said he had no objection if the case was investigated by the CBI, but there was no need for it as the Gujarat police was competent to do so.

Mr Modi said it was surprising the Punjab Chief Minister himself stayed in a room booked in someone else’s name on December 8 and 9 while campaigning in Gujarat. It was a serious matter and he had a lot to explaining in this regard, he said.

CHANDIGARH: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday that the police of his state had enough evidence to prove the involvement of two Punjab ministers in the “call-girl scandal”. He was speaking to mediaperson during his brief halt at the local airport.

When asked whether he would send the Gujarat police to question Punjab minister, Mr Modi said: “I have nothing to do with the investigation of the case. It was a matter to be handled in a professional manner by the Gujarat police. It is up to the investigating officers to decide whether to question the ministers concerned or not”. He said that the scandal was busted following the arrest of Neeraj Shah who was involved in this sex racket. 


Kicks off a new controversy

The Gujarat CM said today that the room in which the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, stayed in Taj Hotel in Ahmedabad to campaign for the Assembly elections was neither booked in his name nor in the name of the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee. What was the logic behind the stay in the room for two days that was not booked in his (Capt Amarinder Singh) name, questioned Mr Modi. Who made the payment for the stay?


Sonia’s visit put off again

New Delhi, February 18
Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s proposed visit to Himachal Pradesh tomorrow to campaign for her party has been postponed again in view of inclement weather, the second time in two days.

The visit is being rescheduled, party sources said, adding that the revised programme would be announced later. TNS

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