Afzal row: Government played “fraud on Constitution”

published on June 8, 2010

Afzal row: BJP seeks answers

Pioneer News Service | New Delhi

A day after Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit hinted that she was under pressure from former Home Minister Shivraj Patil (now Punjab Governor) to hold back the Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru’s mercy petition file, the Opposition BJP on Monday turned the heat on the Congress and demanded an explanation for the “fraud on Constitution”.

“We have been complaining about Ministers misrepresenting facts. Here is a Government which kept telling lies and misrepresenting the fact on an issue relating to internal security. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh owes an explanation to the nation for the fraud that has been committed on the Constitution,” BJP spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad told reporters.

Asked if former Home Minister Shivraj Patil had directed Dikshit to keep the decision pending even as the Ministry sent frequent reminders, Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit had said in a television interview, “May be what you are thinking is true”.

Saying that its apprehension about Congress playing vote bank politics over Afzal Guru’s death sentence has come true, the BJP said it was for the Government to explain whether Patil exerted any pressure on Dikshit, in the capacity of a senior Congress leader or that of the Home Minister, who was directly involved with the case.

“Being the NAC chairman, Sonia Gandhi now has an “official” stake in the Government. She also has to explain. We request her to speak out and let the nation know why the Government misrepresented the facts every time the Opposition raised the matter in and outside Parliament,” Prasad said.

Accusing the Government of committing a “patent case of fraud on the Constitution”, Prasad said there was no legal basis for the argument of a queue of death row convicts as matters could have been expedited in cases as serious as an attack on Indian Parliament.

“The Government willfully, deliberately and in a planned manner misled Parliament by putting forth the concept of a queue,” he said, adding there was no legal validity for this concept of queue and the Government could have easily put the matter on fast-track.

Home Minister P Chidambaram had contended that Guru’s mercy petition was 22nd among 28 pending with the Government. The Government would take up the petitions in the order in which they came up and recommend whether they should be accepted or rejected and inform the President accordingly, he had said.

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