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Govt should break ''guilty silence'' over Scorpene scam: Fernandes

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Mar 26 (UNI) NDA convenor and Janata Dal (United) President George Fernandes today charged the UPA government with using ''scamster'' Abhishek Verma as a shield to protect itself from charges of corruption in the Scorpene deal and he said that NDA would use every forum to nail the ''corrupt clique'' behind the scam.

Mr Fernandes, who has received a legal notice from Abhishek Verma demanding that the NDA convenor should tender public apology failing which a defamation suit would be filed against him for levelling charges of corruption against Verma and his associates in the Scorpene deal and demanding a comprehensive inquiry into it, wondered why the UPA government was keeping ''guilty silence'' about the information provided by NDA about the Navy's War Room leak and massive political kickbacks.

Verma has also threatened to sue Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha L K Advani and former Defence minister and Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Jaswant Singh as the three had brought the ''highly incriminating information about the twin scandals'' before the media on March 21, he pointed out.

Staunchly denying that he would tender apology to Verma, Mr Fernandes said he had ''never apologised for raising his voice against the corrupt deeds of the Congress governments. As far as tendering apology to a well known scamster like Abhishek Verma, the question does not arise at all. Here is a defamed person who, at the instigation of a defamed government, is threatening to file a defamation case against me and other senior leaders of NDA. What a joke!'' He said NDA will use every forum--Parliament, judiciary, media and campaign among the people-- to nail the corrupt clique which is behind the Scorpene scandal.

''Instead of using a scamster like Verma, against whom over a dozen cases of financial fraud and criminality are pending before the ED, CBI and Income Tax authorities, as a shield to protect itself, why is the UPA government keeping a guilty silence over the questions and information provided by us on the money trail between Thales, the French company that makes Scorpene submarines, and Abhishek Verma?'' Both Thales and Verma have claimed that the emails exchanged between them are ''fake and fabricated'' and this claim of innocence was expected of them,'' Mr Ferndandes said and wondered, ''But why is the government accepting the claims of the accused at face value ? The NDA would like to remind the government that fabrication of emails is a crime under India's cyber laws. Therefore, it is the duty of the government to immediately initiate an investigation whenever somebody says that he is a victim of emails forged in his name.'' More UNI AJ PK BST1646

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