Govt says based Aiyar house meet claim on ‘informal’ sources, Cong seeks apology

Written by PaperDabba
Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: June 10, 2018 5:44:54 am

The Congress made public the PMO’s reply to the RTI applicant named Saket Gokhle.

The Congress Saturday demanded an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his remarks during the Gujarat election campaign last year about a supposed “secret meeting”, attended among others by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and some Pakistani officials at Mani Shankar Aiyar’s house, to allege a Pakistan hand in the elections.

The Congress pointed to a reply from the Prime Minister’s Office to an RTI query, in which the PMO stated that Modi made the remarks based on informal and formal information received from multiple sources. The Congress made public the PMO’s reply to the RTI applicant named Saket Gokhle.

In his RTI application, Gokhale had asked whether there is any evidence regarding the alleged meeting that can be shared, and whether the government launched an investigation. “While information sought does not form part of records held by this office, it may be noted that inputs received from multiple channels, including formal and informal, form the sources of PM’s statements,” the PMO replied.

“This is (a) new precedent set by the Prime Minister: informal,” Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said. “What is informal about the Constitutional post (of PM)? You have taken oath under the Constitution, and you are talking about informal things…you are raising questions on democracy on the basis of informal sources.” “We demand an apology from the Prime Minister,” Khera said.

Manmohan Singh had at the time accused Modi of spreading “falsehoods and canards”, and setting a dangerous precedent with his “insatiable desire” to “tarnish” every constitutional office. ‘Probe Maoist threat to PM, don’t politicise’

The Congress saturday demanded an investigation into reports that Maoists were planning to assassinate Prime Minister Modi and said that the issue should not be politicised. “Any threat received by anyone against the Prime Minister, howsoever suspicious…vague, even if it is a rumour, should be taken seriously. Action should be taken, investigations should be done,” Khera said.

He said, “We have lost two Prime Ministers. We have lost an entire leadership in the Chhattisgarh violence. We know what it means to fight terrorism, Naxalism. But do not play politics. We lost (state Congress’s top) leadership in Chhattisgarh (in 2013) when the BJP was in power. Did we play politics in Chhattisgarh? We did not,” he said, replying to a question.

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