Wednesday, October 8, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Badmouthing PM, Maya turns to Congress
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 7
A day after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed the FIR in the Taj Heritage Corridor case, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and BSP President, Mayawati today launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, blaming him squarely for the FIR and using the premier investigation agency to meet political ends.

The filing of the FIR on the day the Assembly election schedule for five states was announced clearly indicated the political intentions of the BJP, asserted Ms Mayawati at a press conference at her residence in the Capital.

The BSP leader took the opportunity not only to address her constituency by describing BSP supremo Kanshi Ram’s health as critical, but to extend a hand of friendship to the Congress for a post-poll alliance.

“We will unsettle the calculations of the BJP by pressurising the CBI to lodge an FIR in the Taj Corridor case,” she said.

“We know that we cannot form the government on our own in these states, but we will do all to crush the BJP,” she said, indicating the role the party would play in the post-poll scenario.

Political observers said indications were that in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, no party was likely to get an absolute majority. In such a scenario, the role of the BSP would be critical.

She said, “Not only will the BJP never come to power in the states of Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, but it will be dethroned at the Centre. The BSP is committed to have its share in power at the Centre in the Lok Sabha elections.”

Whatever the CBI did in the case was clearly under pressure from the Centre and the time to lodge the FIR was chosen to prevent her from being engaged in electioneering, she claimed.

Ms Mayawati said, “I have information that Mr Vajpayee had ordered the CBI and other agencies to conduct large-scale raids at my residence and those of my relatives and close party aides.”

The CBI lodged an FIR against Ms Mayawati her Cabinet collegue Nasimuddin Siddiqui and six senior state and Central officials in connection with the alleged scam in the Rs 175-crore Taj Heritage Corridor project.

Besides Ms Mayawati and Mr Siddiqui, others named in the FIR are former Chief Secretary D.S. Bagga, former Principal Secretary to Mayawati P.L. Punia, former Principal Secretary for Environment R.K. Sharma, former Environment Secretary V.K. Gupta, former Union Environment Secretary K.C. Mishra and NPCC Chairman S.C. Bali.

The agency had charged her and seven others with criminal conspiracy and tampering with documents, apart from causing financial loss to the state exchequer by misappropriation.

The Supreme Court ordered a CBI probe on July 16 into the irregularities in the clearance of the first instalment of Rs 17 crore by the Mayawati government.

The apex court, in its order on September 18, asked the CBI to lodge an FIR against officials and take appropriate action against Ms Mayawati and Mr Siddiqui.

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