PM denies misleading House, stands by defense on cash-for-votes row

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New Delhi: Rejecting Oppo-sition claims of misleading Parliament, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on March 23 reiterated that neither the government nor the Congress were guilty of buying MPs to win the 2008 trust vote.

“Madam Speaker, several members raised the allegations earlier. In response to the Opposition request, I had made the statement in the House on March 18. I reiterate that,” Manmohan Singh told the Lok Sabha.

He was replying to a heated debate on dispatches by US diplomats, leaked by WikiLeaks and published in The Hindu, which reported that payoffs had been made to MPs to ensure a majority for the Congress-led government in the confidence vote.

He said it “is not possible for the government of India” to verify the content or the existence of these cables between the US government and their mission in India.

“In my statement, I have also stated that many of the people named in the cable have strongly denied the veracity (of such cables),” he said.

The Prime Minister rejected Opposition claims that he had misled the House on March 18. Manmohan Singh said he had stated what then Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee had commented about the probe committee report over the issue.

“The Opposition leader has questioned the veracity of this (March 18) statement. In this context I would like to say that what I said in my statement is what Chatterjee had said in the House on December 16, 2008 while introducing the committee’s report.

“I have read the report and it is my considered conclusion that I am not wrong in inferring that the committee concluded that the allegations of bribery has not been proved.”

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