Kamal Nath faces AAP heat, says prepared for any probe (Roundup)

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New Delhi, June 16 (IANS) A day after he resigned as general secretary incharge of poll-bound Punjab, Congress leader Kamal Nath came under fresh attack from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which demanded a probe against him for his alleged role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

Kamal Nath said he was prepared for any investigation, while Congress said there was never a case against him.

AAP leader H.S. Phoolka told reporters here that Kamal Nath himself had admitted in an affidavit that he was present at Gurdwara Rakab Ganj in the heart of Delhi when a mob attacked it and killed two Sikhs.

“Kamal Nath is responsible for this and police should ask him who were the people who had assembled unlawfully. He was the leader and controlling them,” Phoolka said.

“Kamal Nath still hasn’t been questioned over this. This is a mockery of the law.”

The Aam Aadmi Party also questioned the links of other Congress leaders with the riots that followed the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by two of her Sikh bodyguards.

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The violence left over 3,000 Sikhs dead, almost all of them in Delhi.

AAP MLA Jarnail Singh wanted to know why Congress leader Sajjan Kumar was still with the Congress if, as party leader Amarinder Singh says, that he was one of the accused in the riots.

Kamal Nath was on Wednesday relieved from the post of general secretary in-charge of the upcoming elections in Punjab after he made a request to party President Sonia Gandhi.

Punjab is to go for elections early next year and AAP is making a serious bid for power in the state.

AAP leader Dilip Pandey said the Congress had taken the decision concerning Kamal Nath due to constant pressure.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Avinash Rai Khanna said that Kamal Nath’s appointment as incharge of Punjab “had rubbed salt on the wounds of Sikhs”.

“He offered to resign after opposition from several quarters. The Congress had to bow before the truth. Congress has suffered a setback even before the build up of campaign for the elections in Punjab,” Rai said.

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In an interview to India Today news channel, Kamal Nath said he was prepared to face any probe.

“There has been a SIT probe, the (Ranganath) Misra Commission enquiry, (G.T.) Nanavati Commission inquiry. I am ready to face any other probe, including CBI,” Kamal Nath said.

He said there was no statement from any quarter accusing him of involvement in the riots. “Then someone approached the Nanavati Commission to probe my role. The Commission exonerated me of all charges,” Nath added.

The G.T. Nanavati Commission was set up in May 2000 by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government to probe the 1984 anti-Sikh violence.

Asked about charges levelled by Phoolka, Kamal Nath said: “Where was Phoolka all these years? Why did he not file an FIR or a case against me? Why is he making the allegations now.”

The Congress MP from Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh said it was his own decision to quit as in-charge of party affairs in Punjab.

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“I did not want this inconsequential issue (of allegations against him) to overshadow important issues in Punjab — like misgovernance, drug menace, plight of farmers, the flight of youth from the state. Why should these issues be diverted,” he said.

On his presence outside Delhi Gurudwara Rakabganj on November 1, 1984, Nath said he had been asked by the party to reach there.

“There was a mob outside the Gurudwara and I tried to stop them from attacking the Gurudwara. The police had requested me to control the mob till their reinforcement arrives,” he said.

Kamal Nath had written to Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday, saying he had been hurt by the “unnecessary controversy” concerning him.

At the regular Congress briefing on Thursday, party leader Anand Sharma also strongly backed Kamal Nath, who is now into his ninth term as member of Lok Sabha.

“There was no case against him, so demand for a probe is ridiculous,” Sharma said.



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