The Communist Party of India on Friday said the decision by the government to close the case against Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrrochi in the Bofors pay-off case exposed its will to fight corruption.

The party said that the last decade-and-half had shown that the Congress had no desire to go ahead with the Bofors case, when it came too uncomfortably close to higher-ups within it.

“It dragged its feet, intervened frequently and brazenly in the entire process, did everything to weaken the case so that it cannot stand the scrutiny of the courts in India and abroad; it has now shamelessly decided to drop it altogether,” the party said in a resolution.

Release civilians

The CPI demanded the release of innocent civilians from camps in Sri Lanka. It wanted them to be allowed to return to their homes. The party urged the Centre to take up the issue with Colombo.

“The war in Sri Lanka has ended and as per the admission of the Sri Lanka government, there are 3.5 lakh Tamil-speaking citizens who have been put up in the so-called rehabilitation camps under Army supervision. They should be released,” general secretary A.B. Bardhan said at the end of the party’s two-day National Executive meeting here.

The meeting adopted a resolution noting that in May 2009 the Sri Lankan President declared that the military operation of eliminating terrorist groups and their leader was over and claiming that the war against terrorism won.

Despite the end of the war, the Tamil-speaking Sri Lankan citizens who lost their livelihoods and their homes have been put up in camps. “U.N. observers have spoken about the violation of human rights and the horrible conditions and ill-treatment. The Red Cross representatives have also come out with serious criticism against the Sri Lankan government,” the resolution said.

It also pointed out that the Sri Lankan government was not permitting national or international media into the camps and that there was no authoritative source of information to know the real plight of the people.

The CPI strongly objected to the use of armed forces assisting the government while fighting Maoists/naxalites, stating that the move was tantamount to using the Army against its own people.

Mr. Bardhan said that the Centre was using the Army in the form of drawing up a strategy to fight naxalites while the Indian Air Force was extending support in the form of surveillance, reconnaissance and moving manpower.

“Now we read that the IAF has sought permission from the government to fire in self-defence. Now, the IAF is mobilised to fight a battle against own people….,” Mr. Bardhan said at a news conference. He said: “If the IAF uses firepower, the consequences will be bad and the toll of human lives will be very heavy.”

On support to Congress

Asked about Left parties supporting the Congress in the Siliguri mayoral elections to keep the Trinamool Congress out, he said it would not have any impact on national politics. “What has that got to do with the UPA [government at the Centre]? We withdrew support [to UPA] on certain issues. There was no Trinamool at that time.”

The CPI general secretary said the decision came after the Congress wrote to the ruling Left Front government in West Bengal asking for support to its candidate for the post of Mayor in Siliguri.

He dismissed questions whether the support can be extended to Delhi. “How can it be replicated? It is a municipal corporation election. Leave it at that. There is nothing serious about it,” he said.

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