New Delhi, July 27 : Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha LK Advani today urged upon Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee to make the CNN-IBN tapes containing footage showing three BJP MPs receiving one crore rupees, allegedly from some Samajwadi Party leaders, as an advance in return to their abstention from voting on July 22nd Vote-of-Confidence moved by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh over Indo-US nuclear deal.
In his letter written to the Speaker, Advani contended that the TV channel had on July 22, immediately after the BJP MPs had flashed the wads of notes in the Lok Sabha, announced that it possessed the TV footage of the sting operation and that it had submitted the same with the Speaker.
"However, I learnt later that the tape was actually delivered to your office the following day, after a lapse of over 24 hours. Although the channel has stated that it retains a copy of the tape and reserves the right to telecast at a future date, the long delay between the recording of the tape and its telecast (if and when it happens) would naturally raise grave doubts as to whether the tape is authentic or doctored," said Advani in the letter released to the media.
Advani further wrote in his letter that in any investigation by a media organisation, the investigated material does not become the private property of the investigator. It is held in trust for the public of India and the information its contents must be shared both with the people at large as well as with the whistle-blowers (in this case, the three MPs), without whose permission and cooperation the channel could not have conducted the investigation.
"It is unfortunate that the TV channel is now treating the investigated material as its private property and chosen to impose a mysterious self-censorship on itself," said Advani.
He also made a reference to a report published in a leading national daily today saying that the secret videotapes believed to containing images related to the bribes-for-votes scandal "have turned up grainy footage of poor picture and audio quality." The newspaper had based the report on its "sources".
Meanwhile, reacting to Advani's demand, RJP leader Devender Prasad Yadav, who is also a member of the 11-member committee set up by the Speaker to look into and give a report by August 11 when the Parliament reopens for the Monsoon Session, said that now the tape and the currency notes worth one crore rupees was the property of the Lok Sabha Secretariat, "so how can an experienced leader of Advaniji's stature ask for it to be made public."
"Now, since the Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee has set up a committee, how can the material, which is yet to be investigated and examined, can be passed on to someone or made public. The committee will soon meet in the Capital and look into every aspect of it," said Yadav.
He added: "Of late Advaniji has been seen indulging into such acts which do not match parliamentary procedures, like he allowed his party MPs to flash wads of notes in the Lok Sabha flouting all parliamentary norms." By Pankaj Yadav