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Updated: April 13, 2014 18:55 IST

Baru book smacks of fiction, allegations baseless: PMO

PTI
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Media Adviser to Prime Minister's Office Pankaj Pachauri in New Delhi. File photo
The Hindu Media Adviser to Prime Minister's Office Pankaj Pachauri in New Delhi. File photo

The PMO on Sunday hit out at Sanjaya Baru, former Media Adviser, saying his book contending that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was undermined by Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi smacks of “fiction” and is a “coloured” view and rubbished as “baseless and mischievous that its files were seen by her.

“The statement being attributed to a former Media Adviser to the Prime Minister that PMO files were seen by the Congress President, Smt. Sonia Gandhi is completely baseless and mischievous.

It is categorically denied that any PMO file has ever been shown to Smt. Sonia Gandhi,” the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) spokesman Pankaj Pachauri said in a statement here.

Pachauri was responding to the claims by Mr. Baru in his book ’Accidential Prime Minister — The Making and Unmaking of Manmohan Singh’ and comments to media that the Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary Pulok Chatterjee would seek “instructions” from Ms. Gandhi on important PMO decisions.

Criticising Mr. Baru, the PMO statement said, “The book written by the former media adviser is an attempt to misuse a privileged position and access to high office to gain credibility and to apparently exploit it for commercial gain.

The commentary smacks of fiction and coloured views of a former adviser.”

The statement reiterated that “the question about comments of the former media adviser was raised by senior editors when they met the Prime Minister in October last year.

His answer was “...Do not believe all he is saying“.

The PMO statement came amidst strong attack by the opposition on Ms. Gandhi and the Prime Minister, using the claims by Baru.

Mr. Baru on Sunday claimed that the book is “very balanced” and also highlighted the achievements of UPA but said the media has only focussed on the criticism in it.

“I have said in my introduction that the book says both good and critical things,” he said.

“More than 50 per cent of the book records the facts where he took decisions where he showed resolve...This was a PM(Manmohan) who did a lot and the book records that,” he added.

Senior BJP leaders including L K Advani and Arun Jaitley attacked ruling Congress and Singh in connection with the book, saying it is a confirmation of what the world already knew that he is a “weak” PM and Gandhi had the last word in government matters.

In his book, Mr. Baru has written, “Pulok, who was inducted into the Manmohan Singh PMO at the behest of Sonia Gandhi, had regular, almost daily, meetings with Sonia at which he was said to brief her on the key policy issues of the day and seek her instructions on important files to be cleared by the Prime Minister.

“Indeed, Pulok was the single most point of regular contact between Prime Minister and Sonia. He was also the PMO’s main point of contact with the NAC, a high profile advisory body chaired by Sonia Gandhi, with social activists as members. It was sometimes dubbed the shadow cabinet.”

As the observations created a flutter, Mr. Baru said, “it was not a secret.” He said it was well known that Chatterjee was Sonia Gandhi’s secretary when she was the leader of opposition and had also worked with the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation chaired by her.

“He was very much part of the family ... I was not witness to it, whether she physically saw the files. I knew she was consulted on issues and he was taking her concurrence,” said Mr. Baru, who had resigned from the PMO in 2008 while Chatterjee joined it in 2011.

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Why Mr. Baru did wait for 5 long years to publish his book after retiring from his position in PMO office? I also have the same view of PMO that "the book written by the former media adviser is an attempt to misuse a privileged position and access to high office to gain credibility and to apparently exploit it for commercial gain". I also fear people like him will come out with other stories in the same manner, in a series, till the elections to the parliament are over. Who can say that he is not working for the benefit of some other person or party?

from:  Thulasidas
Posted on: Apr 14, 2014 at 13:11 IST

Long many years ago, Cho, in his Tamil fortnightly Thuglak wrote the late M.G.R hardly used to visit the secretariat and ask for the files to be sent to Jayalalithaa's poes garden home and then he would sit with Jayalalithaa to clear file. Thus giving her an insight into the way how his administration worked.
MGR never took his wife Janaki in his official tour and Manjula,Latha or Jayalalitha accompanied him- even for watching cricket match. So also Karunanithi took Rajathi Ammal who is not his official wife on official trips. If a government servant would do this he would be dismissed from job. This was how Tamilnadu showed the way for political maladministration. The centre has followed it now.

from:  Jayabalan
Posted on: Apr 13, 2014 at 20:20 IST

It is a usual practice to deny all allegations because ultimate
verdict is given by the Hon'ble concerned Court. When the Writer Shri
Pankaj Pachouri has incorporated all the allegations in his book,
surely he has some concrete materials to establish his points and the
onus lies on him to substantiate what he stated in his book with valid
and legally acceptable evidences and equally on the Hon'ble Prime
Minister to deny all allegations and establish his cogent grounds of
denial on each specific issue with concrete evidences. The suggested
steps would reduce such unending allegations and counter denials and
cases ultimately landing in concerned Hon'ble Court.

from:  Saileswar Chakrabarti
Posted on: Apr 13, 2014 at 20:05 IST
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