Jaya Jaitly accuses UPA of double standards on Baalu issue

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New Delhi, May 1 (UNI) The Petroleum Minister's clarification notwithstanding, former Samta Party President Jaya Jaitly today contended that Road Transport and Highways Minister T R Baalu had committed ''improprieties'' by writing to the PMO to ensure supply of gas to the companies run by his family members.

Mr Baalu moved, heaven and earth, both during the NDA and UPA governments as a minister, seeking special commercial benefits for his son's company, she said.

''This is not for a national, state, constituency or public institution, but for a private company owned by a member of his own household. This is against the spirit of oath ministers take when assuming office, apart from other improprieties,'' Ms Jaitly said in a statement.

She also said Mr Balu exerted pressure on the Petroleum Ministry and the Prime Minister for securing certain facilities to the companies, which had been terminated for technical and administrative reasons.

''He (Baalu) misled the public that he was a victim of the NDA vendetta and sought favours from the UPA and the PM's support on this basis,'' the Samta Party leader said.

Referring to the eight letters written by the PMO to the Petroleum Ministry, she said these were supposedly 'referral' in nature, based on Mr Baalu's request.

''Eight letters surely indicate more than unusual expressions of interest. Yet the UPA claims there is nothing wrong since the letters were not recommendatory. If there was nothing recommendatory, one referral letter, as is standrad practice, would have been enough.'' Petroleum Minister Murli Deora, in a written statement in the Rajya Sabha yesterday, had sought to put a lid on the controversy by denying that the PMO had ''issued any order or any instructions to help the company'' promoted by Mr Baalu's family.

He also told the Upper House that not a single cubic meter of gas was supplied to the companies and that the matter was sub judice.

Ms Jaitly said the controversy had fully exposed the self-serving politics of the UPA government, which preferred to close down an inquiry commission on the Tehelka tapes on the fake defence deals, when it was about to complete its work, and handed her case to the CBI.

''Neither in the tapes nor in the chargesheet filed by the CBI is there any evidence available of my having taken up any matter with anyone in the government regarding any defence transaction or forwarding any complaint of a commercial nature.

''Instead, in the tapes, it is clearly heard that I am telling the visitors that since I do not take up matters related to companies as I have no personal interest, if and when any injustice to them becomes evident all I can do is to request the staff in the minister's office to see that everyone is treated fairly,'' she said.

Ms Jaitly said if the UPA government found nothing wrong in either Mr Baalu's official pressure for personal benefit or in eight referral letters going out of the PMO on the issue, it was evidently ''practising double standards'' and ''blatantly misusing the CBI to pin its political opponents down in court procedures.'' UNI SKS AE KN1904

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