Tejpal muck on Sonia for 2004 letter
Five ministers trying to protect Tarun, says BJP
New Delhi: BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on Wednesday released a letter from PM Manmohan Singh to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi assuring that Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal’s representation on cases against the magazine will be examined by relevant ministries.
Swamy’s disclosure is bound to add fuel to a bitter war of words between BJP and Congress over “politicization” of the sexual assault charges levelled against Tejpal by a former junior colleague.
Swamy released a 2004 letter in which the PMO has taken note of Sonia’s intercession on behalf of Tejpal, who had then claimed the cases were foisted against the magazine by the NDA regime for sting operations against then BJP chief Bangaru Laxman and defence minister George Fernandes.
The letter, dated June 25, 2004 and addressed to Sonia, reads: “I have received your letter of June 18, 2004 enclosing a representation from Tarun Tejpal, editor in chief of Tehelka regarding investigation pending against them. I am asking the concerned ministries to examine the cases and review their status and proposed course of action.”
Reacting to the letter’s release, Congress spokesman Randeep Surjewala said, “It is fact that Tehelka had exposed corruption of the BJP president and government and many journalists were implicated in fake cases. If someone wants to link a crime of 2013 with a corruption related case of 2003, it reflects his mindset.”
Swamy alleged that the letter shows the government’s soft corner towards Tejpal.
The probe launched under the NDA took a dramatically different course after UPA-1 assumed office. After the Bangaru sting, Tehelka and its investor First Global were investigated by police and tax authorities over allegations of stock market manipulation and conspiracy.
BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi alleged that as many as five Union ministers were trying to “protect” Tejpal. She and Swamy also attacked Tehelka managing editor Shoma Choudhury, alleging that she was in touch with UPA ministers.