M A I N   N E W S

CBI to probe Centaur selloff
Tribune News Service and UNI

New Delhi, July 21
The government has asked the CBI to probe the alleged infirmities in the privatisation of Centaur Hotels by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime in 2002.

The Finance Ministry has sent a note to the CBI, asking it to probe the multi-crore deal which was reached when Mr Arun Shourie was Disinvestment Minister.

It came under fire from the then Opposition Congress and Left parties. The file for the CBI probe was cleared by Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram last week, official sources said here today.

The decision has to be seen in the light of the Left parties, taking a hardline against disinvestment, ahead of the Monsoon session of Parliament commencing on Monday.

Terming the decision of the Congress-led UPA Government’s decision to order a CBI probe into the disinvestment of the Juhu Centaur Hotel during the NDA regime as “yet another example of its vindictive politics”, the BJP today said former Disinvestment Minister Arun Shourie was willing to face any inquiry by any agency.

“ The Left has been attacking the government day in and day out, in the strongest possible words. This so-called inquiry (by the CBI) is just a morsel that the government has thrown at the Left to appease it,” BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar told newspersons here.

“The government knows that there is nothing to inquire. After a detailed examination of the Juhu Hotel disinvestment, this Government itself submitted a note to the CAG in January 2005 justifying the concepts that were used and the procedures that were followed,” he said.

“The BJP is sure that nothing will come of this so-called inquiry.... The decision is a cause for worry not for the BJP and the NDA, but for the government,” Mr Javadekar said, adding that as far as Mr Shourie was concerned, he had already stated that he was ready to assist every authority in whatever inquiry the government decreed.

In this context, the BJP spokesperson demanded that the report of the internal inquiry it conducted on all single-bid disinvestments, including the Juhu Centaur one, and a detailed note on the Juhu Centaur disinvestment it sent to the CAG in January 2005 be made public.

On the case pertaining to Bollywood Actor Salman Khan’s alleged links with underworld don Abu Salem, the BJP demanded a CBI inquiry into it.

“The revelation about actor Salman Khan is shocking. More shocking is the Maharashtra Government’s inaction on this sensitive matter for the past four years. The BJP condemns the Congress state government for inaction and demands that a CBI inquiry be ordered in this episode,” Mr Javadekar said.

He also demanded stern action against the police officers who did not follow on the leads which were available from the tapping of mobile phone of the Salman Khan.

Referring to the reported statement of actor Jackie Shroff that Bollywood was under constant tension because of the underworld, he said “it is a matter of concern and police must ensure total protection to Bollywood.”

On the CBI affidavit in the Supreme Court regarding the alleged sting operation carried out by Amit Jogi, son of former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Ajit Jogi, against BJP leader Dilip Singh Judev, Mr Javadekar said it had “exposed the Congress culture of politics and has vindicated the BJP’s stand.”

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