Congress leaders Friday targeted Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan over his remarks that hinted at espionage in the ministry allegedly having taken place during the UPA regime and demanded an apology from him. Party leader Manish Tewari demanded a Supreme Court-monitored investigation into the petroleum ministry document leakage case that had Thursday caused reverberations in the political and corporate circles.
Delhi Police Thursday arrested five people — two ministry employees and three others — for stealing documents and leaking them to corporate houses. Police Friday said a former journalist with an energy consultant has also been arrested in the case. Tewari said Pradhan was “very quick” to blame the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government and “claim that all this was going on during the UPA time”.
“If he (Pradhan) has categorical information, put it out in public space or withdraw and publicly apologise for the irresponsible statement. It would also raise the question if the minister was concealing more than revealing,” Tewari told. Tewari, a former union minister, said “self-serving explanations” were being trotted out.
“The matter needs full investigation under supervision of the highest court of the land,” Tewari said. He said the government should come out with the names of those who had allegedly benefited from the leaked information.
Senior Congress leader P.C. Chacko said Pradhan had stated that the leakage of documents was taking place during the UPA years.
“What is the proof? The offices (of the ministry) were opened at midnight and papers leaked. He (Pradhan) cannot absolve himself of the responsibility,” Chacko said. Pradhan had Thursday suggested that malpractices in the ministry were taking place during the UPA government. “Everyone knows what was practised in the previous (government). The new government is taking precautions,” he had said. (IANS)