Accusing Union Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal of “trying to whitewash” the 2G spectrum allocation scam, Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat on Sunday said that the people of India would not buy the Minister's argument that the Comptroller and Auditor-General's (CAG) finding on the loss of Rs.1.76 lakh crore was “utterly erroneous and without any basis.”

“Now we understand why Kapil Sibal has been put in charge of the Ministry. After the exposure of the biggest scandal, there is a Minister who is trying to whitewash the crime,” Mr. Karat told journalists after unveiling a portrait of CPI(M) leader Pappa Umanath here.

Asked whether the CPI(M) would raise the demand for a probe by a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) into the spectrum scam in the Budget session, he replied in the affirmative and said: “We will discuss what we will do during the Budget session.”

Stating that Ms. Umanath represented a movement that was against neo-liberalism, Mr. Karat said: “When other bourgeois political parties were talking about corruption, they were hiding the fact that corruption was part and parcel of the existing neo-liberal regime at the Centre.”

He said corruption stemmed from the nexus among politicians, corporate houses and bureaucracy, and that this nexus was sponsored and nurtured by the neo-liberal regime.

“Unless we fight the neo-liberalism that affects the lives of the working class, peasants, and the toiling masses, we cannot fight corruption, which is becoming institutionalised and invading our society,” he said.

Mr. Karat said that at a time when politics was getting degenerated and elected members were using their position for self-service and self-aggrandisement and to serve the interests of the rich people, Ms. Umanath's life remained a striking contrast. Unlike others who learnt Marxism and Leninism through books, she was schooled in the ideology through her direct experience in the field, he added.

CPI(M) State secretary G. Ramakrishnan, Polit Bureau member K. Varadarajan, senior leaders R. Umanath, N. Sankaraiah, and N. Varadarajan, and senior CPI leader A.M. Gopu participated.

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