M A I N   N E W S

Profit Bill smacks of opportunism: Fernandes
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 19
NDA Convener George Fernandes today said the passage of the Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Amendment Bill on the office-of-profit ‘‘will allow the indiscriminate exaltation of persons through multi-positions affording them more advantages from the public coffers than others.’’

Mr Fernandes told mediapersons here on Friday that he did not get a chance to speak on the issue in Parliament despite his day long presence during the debate as his party members had used the few minutes allotted to the Janata Dal (United).

The Lok Sabha MP drew attention to the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA). Mr Fernandes said the CAG report indicting Rajya Sabha member Kapila Vatsayan, had not been made available to Parliament. ‘‘The office which she holds has also been exempted as an office-of-profit from the Bill recently passed. The CAG report also raises serious issue of mismanagement and financial irregularities committed by Dr Vatsayan having ramification on hundreds of crores of taxpayers’ money,’’ the statement reads.

Vatsayan was appointed as Member Secretary-cum- Trustee of the IGNCA in 1987 by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Mr Fernandes referred to the CAG indictment to illustrate how an ‘‘office-of-profit has been turned into an office of private profit.’’

‘‘Are laws being enacted to ensure that such elements can seek refuge in their status as MPs?’’ he asked.

He said it is imperative that Vatsayan is removed as Trustee and President of the IGNCA as her association with the trust has been a constant source of drain of public money. He said Vatsayan planned construction of three buildings of IGNCA worth nearly Rs 800 crore on prime land in Lutyen’s zone in New Delhi.

Mr Fernandes said the present response to the office-of-profit issue smacks of opportunism and justification of something that is patently wrong and unconstitutional. 


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