Advani demands transparency in inquiry into cash-for-votes scam

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New Delhi, Jul 27 (UNI) Invoking the Right to Information (RTI) Act, Leader of the Opposition L K Advani today urged Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee to make public the tape recording of the cash-for-votes incident and ensure transparency and fairness in the inquiry ordered into the incident yesterday.

The Speaker yesterday appointed a seven-member Committee to inquire into the complaint by three BJP Members of Parliament regarding alleged offer of money to them in connection with voting on the Confidence Motion in the Lok Sabha on July 22.

Three BJP MPs--Ashok Argal, Mahavir Bhagora and Faggan Singh Kulaste--had on July 25 complained to the Lok Sabha Speaker that they were offered money for voting on the Confidence Motion moved by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on July 22.

In a letter to the Lok Sabha Speaker, Mr Advani said the display of the currency notes by the three ''whistle-blower'' MPS was watched by millions of people across henation.

''It stands to reason, therefore, that the recording of the whistle-blowing operation must also be seen by the people at large for them to come to a well-informed and fair conclusion. People's right to information cannot be circumscribed in any manner. Hence we urge you to make the tape public without any further delay,'' Mr Advani said in the letter.

He said the investigation material pertaining to the whistle-blowing operation by the three MPs could not be treated as the private property of the channel.

''Hence we urge you to ask the channel to share the entire unedited tape with thethree MPs concerned immediately,'' he said.

The senior BJP leader said there was also need to ensure ''full transparency and fairness'' of the inquiry.

''The partisan and collusive manner in which the JPC on the Bofors scam functioned is well known to the people...The nation expects that this is not repeateed in this case,'' Mr Advani added.

Rerferring to a report in a national daily today that the video tapes believed to contain images related to the bribes-for-votes scandal had turned up as ''grainy footage of poor picture and video quality,'' Mr Advani said the three MPs maintained that he tapes shown to them immediately after the recording were of ''excellent quality.'' MORE UNI RB LPB RAI1755

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