M A I N   N E W S

Phukan report to be tabled in House
Pranab promises strict action against guilty
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 20
The government today assured Parliament that the Phukan Commission report on the Tehelka expose would be tabled in the current session of Parliament, even as the Lok Sabha witnessed uproarious scenes as the Opposition demanded the government to table the CVC report on Kargil arms purchases.

In the din, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee asked the Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee to table the statement on the two affidavits filed before the Supreme Court in the Kargil arms purchase case.

Mr Mukherjee in the statement said the government would take strict action against officials, including former Defence Minister George Fernandes, if it was found that the “excuse” of the Kargil crisis had been taken to make arms purchases with the motive of “personal benefits.”

In the Rajya Sabha, Law Minister H. R. Bhardwaj while assuring to table the report said it was still lying in a sealed cover and would now be examined expeditiously and tabled during the current session.

The furore in the Lok Sabha was sparked off by a remark by Mr Fernandes when he supported the Opposition demand for tabling of the CVC report on the defence deals during the Kargil war.

He said only those who were not concerned with the safety of the country could do what the government was doing in not making the CVC report public. “What kind of people are they (Treasury Benches), the country should know.”

The former Defence Minister said he knew as much of the report as the Speaker. “Those who have read the report know what is there in the report”.

Mr Fernandes said he was hurt over being called a “thief” by those who were sitting in the Treasury Benches now. He recalled that during his tenure as the Defence Minister he had refused to make the CVC report public, saying it was not a report to be made public.

Mr Fernandes charged that the Congress leaders used unparliamentary language against him with reference to the defence deals made during his period.

Earlier, leader of the Opposition L.K. Advani, making his submission, welcomed leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee’s offer for a discussion on the affidavit filed in the Supreme Court and said they would take part in the discussion.

He pointed out that the Phukan Commission had made its observations on the Kargil defence deals and given his report in February 2004. There was also a CVC report on the defence deals. Both reports should be tabled in Parliament before a meaningful discussion takes place.

Mr Pranab Mukherjee recalled that when the NDA was in power it had created a piquant situation when the Public Accounts Committee informed it was unable to submit its report due to the non-availability of the CVC report on defence deals. At that time the government claimed privilege in not making available the CVC report.

In a statement tabled in the House on affidavits filed by the government, the Defence Minister said the government had decided to refer 23 cases, including findings of the Comptroller and Auditor General, to the CBI for investigation.

Charging that the impressions had been sought to be created that some kind of “clean chit” had been given to certain individuals and that there was a ‘U’ turn between the first and second affidavits, the minister said a clear reading of the affidavit filed on March 10 would bear out that no sort of “clean chit “ had been given to anyone.

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