Jaya seeks resignation of PM, sacking of Baalu

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Chennai, Apr 24 (UNI) AIADMK Supremo J Jayalalithaa today demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for ''aiding and abetting'' Union Surface Transport Minister T R Baalu in allegedly ''arm-twisting'' the Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry and also sought the latter's sacking.

In a statement here, she alleged that never before had such a grave charge been levelled against a Prime Minister who had not reacted to the reports in this regard in a section of the media.

Quoting reports, she said Mr Baalu had arm-twisted the Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry over the past two years to provide gas from the Cauvery basin to two companies, Kings India Power corporation and Kings India Chemical Corporation, owned by his two sons T R B Rajkumar and T R B Selvakumar.

''Interestingly, Mr Baalu's two wives, Ms Porkodi and Ms Renuka Devi, hold huge stakes in these companies'', she also alleged.

Ms Jayalalithaa said this was a grave charge of misuse of office, nepotism and corruption relating to Mr Baalu's tenure as Union Minister of state for Petroleum and Natural Gas during 1996-98.

''Not only is there a documented charge that the Union Minister was indulging in nepotism and corruption, there is also a charge with proof that has not been refuted that the Prime Minister is actively aiding and abetting this crime'', she alleged.

She said the Prime Minister was traditionally defined to be the ''first among equals''.

But Dr Singh was according ''unequal treatment'' by bending rules to favour a Cabinet Minister merely because that Minister's party was necessary for his government to continue in power, she alleged.

UNI GV VV AKJ BST1906

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