We do not want to give an impression of political vendetta: Sibal

The United Progressive Alliance government has decided not to name a judge to head a commission to probe the Gujarat snoopgate as it “does not want to give the impression of political vendetta.”

“I talked to the Home Minister [Sushilkumar Shinde] in the morning today [Tuesday] and he said nobody should feel that we are carrying out political vendetta,” Law Minister Kapil Sibal said in response to a question.

“If there has been a delay and then somebody feels that there is some vendetta, we do not want any such charge against us. The allies have their own views. That is why we did not move ahead. What was wrong in that? Let the next government do it,” he added.

The government’s decision comes in the wake of the objection raised by two UPA allies — the Nationalist Congress Party and the National Conference — against the move to appoint a judge at a time when a new government is to be sworn in shortly.

The two parties opined that it would be inappropriate to appoint a judge to head a commission that would investigate the role, among others, of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, in allegedly using government machinery to mount surveillance on a young woman architect in Gujarat.

The Cabinet had cleared the proposal to set up an Enquiry Commission in December 2013 but failed to appoint a judge in the subsequent months.

The controversy over the issue resurfaced last week when Mr. Sibal and Mr. Shinde announced that a judge would be named before May 16, for which day counting of votes in the Lok Sabha elections is scheduled. The BJP hit out at the UPA saying it was a case of political vendetta as the Congress was headed for defeat.

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