PM questions WikiLeaks cable veracity

PM questions WikiLeaks cable veracity

PM questions WikiLeaks cable veracity

Making a statement in both Houses of Parliament following a demand from the Opposition over the issue, he said it was “unfortunate” that the Opposition continued to raise “old charges” that had been debated, discussed and rejected by the people of the country.

Singh’s statement came amid two days of disruption of proceedings in Parliament by a united Opposition which wanted him to either resign or deny the WikiLeaks contents which indicated that many MPs were bribed when he sought the vote of confidence in July 2008.

“An issue was raised that the offence of bribery was committed in India. The government rejects that allegation absolutely and firmly. I may point out that many of the persons referred to in those reports have stoutly denied the veracity of the contents,” the prime minister said.

Singh’s assertion
No one from the Congress party or the government had indulged in “any unlawful act” during the trust vote, he asserted amid thumping of desks by the Treasury benches.
He described the WikiLeaks expose as “speculative, unverified and unverifiable communications” between the US Embassy here and the State Department in Washington, and charged the Opposition with giving dignity to such purported communications to revive old charges “that have been soundly rejected.”
Raising questions over the veracity of Wikileaks expose, the prime minister said the government of India could not confirm the veracity, contents or even the existence of such communications.

Insufficent evidence
He hit out at the Opposition for raising the issue of bribery following the WikiLeaks cables and said the allegations had been investigated by a committee constituted by the 14th Lok Sabha which had concluded that there was insufficient evidence to draw any conclusion of bribery. “I am disappointed that members of the Opposition have forgotten what happened thereafter.”

“Upon the conclusion of the term of the 14th Lok Sabha, there was a general election. The Opposition parties repeated their allegations of bribery in the trust vote. How did the people respond to those allegations,” he remarked.

The principal Opposition party which had 138 seats in the 14th Lok Sabha was reduced to 116 seats in the 15th Lok Sabha. The Left parties found that their tally was reduced from 59 to 24. The Congress alone had increased its tally from 145 to 206, an increase of 61 seats, he pointed out.

Singh insisted that the UPA I government “always enjoyed” the people’s confidence. “The UPA II government has been formed in the 15th Lok Sabha and enjoys the confidence of this House and the people of India,” he said. Opposition members in both Houses wanted to seek clarifications on Singh’s statement but they were disallowed. This sparked uproars and both Houses were finally adjourned for the day.