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Singhvi quits as Congress spokesperson, parliamentary panel chief

Delhi,Politics, Mon, 23 Apr 2012 IANS

New Delhi, April 23 (IANS) Congress MP Abhishek Manu Singhvi Monday resigned as chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on law and justice and as party spokesperson in the wake of a CD controversy surrounding him, saying that he had done so to prevent "even the slightest possible parliamentary disruption".


Announcing his decision through a detailed press statement, Singhvi said "canards and baseless allegations" were being spread about alleged inappropriate conversation in the CD.


Singhvi said he had informed Congress president Sonia Gandhi about his decision "not to brief the press" and his resignation as chairperson of the standing committee.


"I have done this only to prevent even the slightest possible parliamentary disruption regarding the purported CDs being circulated about me. Since I am a disciplined party soldier, I did not think it fit to subject the party to any inconvenience on this account. All allegations are patently baseless and false."


Singhvi accused sections of print and visual media of spreading falsehoods about contents of the CD and said there was no reference to any illegality, corrupt practice, or wrongdoing.


"People inimically opposed to me, who have assiduously spent over 10 days hearing, seeing, amplifying and distilling the CD have found no vestige of any reference, not even remotely, to any illegality, corrupt practice, or wrongdoing. Specifically, some sections of the print and visual media are spreading a falsehood simply by repetition and hearsay that there is reference in the CD to the promise of any post. No one has heard any such reference in the CD. There is none simply because it does not exist. It is pure imagination, wishful thinking and sensationalism," Singhvi said.


He said the canard was spread simply to give the issue a public interest flavour.


"Since otherwise the contents of the CD, assuming them to be true (which they certainly are not), would disclose only something private and consensual giving a cause of action only to aggrieved family members (who have stood completely by me) and to no one else."


"It is lamentable that such canards are being spread about a CD which has, in fact, been accepted thrice over to be fabricated and morphed. The driver's disclosure statement to the police, his detailed written statement (i.e. written pleading) in the High Court and his oral statement recorded on oath physically in the presence of the judge, all explain how and why he created this fabrication," Singhvi said.


The Congress leader said a reputed media house, which was co-defendant in the suit also recorded a consent statement based on the statement of the author of the CD and a final permanent decree of injunction has been passed over five days ago.


"It is noteworthy that the the driver's threatening and blackmailing SMSes sent to my phone (including therein references to a potential CD) had been recorded in the last week of march itself (later extracted by the police), followed by a detailed four-page police complaint filed as far back as 29/3/12, i.e a full 13 days before the alleged CDs first surfaced in the media," Singhvi said.


Singhvi said the CD raises no public interest issues but has evoked salacious private and prurient interest and demanded that privacy issues be respected.


"Either the CD is morphed or it is not. In either event it raises no public interest issue, yet evokes salacious private and prurient interest and contumacious internet violation of a flagrant kind. As a political or a professional class, instead of gleefully watching, promoting or participating in a person's natural and understandable discomfiture, we must respect privacy issues," he said.


His resignation from the posts came a day ahead of the start of the second phase of the budget session of parliament.


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