Wednesday, Dec 03, 2003
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By Our Special Correspondent
The party warned that the scandal was not the result of some simple criminal acts by a few persons but could have much wider ramifications related to the overall national security.
"After recovery of big quantities of fake stamp paper and foreign currency from a house in Nashik yesterday and more quantities of the fake papers from Panvel today, it is becoming clear that those behind it were connected with anti-national forces," the BJP spokesperson, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, said.
"It is irresponsible behaviour on the part of the Maharashtra and Karnataka State Governments to resist an inquiry by the CBI or any other agency the Centre may decide to handover the matter to,'' he added.
As for the admitted lapses at the Nashik Security Press under the control of the Union Finance Ministry, he said "that will also come under the scanner when a full probe is ordered."
However, he was not very certain what the Centre had done since November 2000 when irregularities at the Nashik Press were first brought to its notice.
"The Centre did hold an inquiry," he said, but despite repeated questions from the press, Mr. Naqvi was not able to clarify whether that was an internal departmental inquiry or a full-scale probe into the serious allegations relating to the security of stamp papers and currency notes.
Mr. Naqvi said that although the current investigations in Maharashtra by a Special Investigating Team (SIT) were being carried out under the direction of the High Court, the court had not ruled against an inquiry by the CBI.
He appealed to all political parties to "rise above partisan considerations" and ensure that "no attempt is made to shield anyone" connected to the scandal, which now seems to be running into some Rs. 30,000 crores.
Although he had at first mentioned only the Maharashtra and Karnataka Governments as resisting a CBI probe, he protested that he was not trying to shield the Union Finance Ministry when it was brought to his notice that so far investigations seem to be suggesting that the gross irregularities at the Nashik Security Press may have made the job of the scamsters easy or that some important personnel at the Press may be very much involved in the scandal, besides the main accused, Abdul Karim Telgi.
On the demand by the Telugu Desam Party - Andhra Pradesh is one of the States where the fake stamp paper racket has flourished - that a Joint Parliamentary Committee be set up to go into the matter, Mr. Naqvi said that he would not reject the demand, but insisted that how and by whom the matter was to be investigated was best left to the Centre.
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