M A I N   N E W S

Cong for Rudy’s sack, seeks CBI probe

New Delhi, February 8
The Congress today demanded the arrest of Civil Aviation Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy and a comprehensive probe by the CBI regarding his holidaying in Goa allegedly at the expense of the Airports Authority of India (AAI).

Speaking to newspersons, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said that Mr Rudy should be immediately dismissed, arrested and a thorough CBI probe ordered in the case.

The Congress reaction comes in the wake of a newspaper report today which said that Mr Rudy had not paid bills pertaining to his and his family’s stay at the Taj Exotica hotel in Goa recently.

According to the report, the minister had not cleared bills amounting to Rs 2,69,200 and the AAI was reportedly asked to pick up the bills.

“We demand Rudy’s immediate dismissal, arrest and a thorough CBI probe in the entire matter involving the Civil Aviation Minister in the (alleged) non-payment of his bills and asking the AAI to pick up the bills for his family’s five-day four night stay in Taj Exotica in Goa,” Mr Sibal said.

“Action must be initiated against Rudy under the Prevention of Corruption Act”, Mr Sibal said, adding that the minister and his family’s stay in Goa was personal and there was nothing official in it.

The Congress leader, however, said that it was unlikely that the Prime Minister would initiate any action against Mr Rudy, as in previous cases such as the Tehelka expose, alleged cash-on-camera Judeo scandal and land allotment and petrol pump case, not much action has been taken.

Mr Rudy has reportedly said that no payments have been made to the hotel as “hotel jacked up the rates”.

The CPI also demanded the dismissal of Mr Rudy following the allegations and charged the BJP ministers of “looting” the state exchequer.

The CPI National General Secretary D Raja said in a statement that the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) had earlier brought to the notice of the Prime Minister instances of “misuse” of office by ministers, which the Prime Minister had denied later.

Meanwhile, the AAI today said that it had not paid any amount for Civil Aviation Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy’s stay at Goa from December 30, 2003 to January 2, 2004.

“It is hereby confirmed that on the express instructions from the office of the Minister, AAI has not paid any amount for the Minister’s stay at Goa during December 30, 2003, to January 2, 2004,” the AAI said in a press release here while referring to a report in the media regarding the alleged non-payment of hotel bills of Mr Rudy and his family members in Goa.

The release said that Hotel Taj Exotica in Goa raised a bill of Rs 2.16 lakh on the AAI after the departure of the minister from Goa. However, the airport Director, Goa, has confirmed that he had received instructions from the office of the minister not to make any payment against accommodation charges and that he has referred the bills to the minister’s office for payment on January 23, 2004.

It said the AAI had not made any booking for the minister at Goa as it was learnt that accommodation had been directly booked by the office of the minister at the hotel. — TNS, PTI

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