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NDA petitions again before President for Chawla's removal

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Apr 8 (UNI) The National Democratic Alliance today submitted another petition to President APJ Abdul Kalam seeking his intervention for removal of Election Commissioner Navin Chawla for allegedly receiving donations from Congress MPs for the trust run by his wife.

The NDA had earlier submitted a memorandum singed by 205 members of Parliament on March 16 for action against the Election Commissioner.

An NDA delegation led by its convener George Fernandes met the President this evening and submitted a memorandum expressing its concern over the UPA government's efforts to bail out Mr Chawla ''so that his services could be used for partisan purposes''.

Later addressing newspersons at the fore-lawns of the Rashtrapati Bhawan, Leader of the Opposition Jaswant Singh said they had expressed their concern over the ''turn of events'' with the government reportedly giving a clean chit to Mr Chawla who had allegedly accepted money from the MPLAD funds of some Congress MPs for his non-governmental organisation.

While pointing out that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Attorney General Milon Banerjee had no role to acquit Mr Chawla of the charges, they told the President that they had not come for any constitutional debate on the matter. But since they have sworn-in as MPs and promised to respect the Constitution, they had approached him (the President) for he is the custodian of the Constitution.

His attention was also drawn to the reports that the 1994 file concerning Mr Chawala was missing from the Home Ministry. ''It is not only a matter of concern but a mockery of the Constitution,'' they said.

They also pointed out that the Prime MInister had earlier given a clean chit to former External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh indicted by the Volcker Committee on the oil-for-food scam.

Similarly, the government had rejected an inquiry into the Scorpene submarine deal. But now the CBI was making arrests in connection with the deal.

''We have urged the President that our memorandum be sent to the Chief Election Commissioner for appropriate action,'' the delegation said, adding that the President had assured them that he would send both a copy of the previous memorandum along with this memorandum to the CEC.

The memorandum had said in the two trusts managed by him and his wife, Rs 95 lakhs had been donated by leading Congress MPs from their MPLADS fund. Besides, a big piece of land valued at many crores had been given to these trusts by Congress governments in Delhi and Rajasthan (of the Ashok Gehlot government) for a pittance.

UNI KAS MSJ KP1940

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