Urges media to also look at graft committed by other parties

A day after Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi criticised the Maharashtra government for rejecting the report of a judicial commission that probed the Adarsh Housing Society scam, president Sonia Gandhi hinted that the State would be urged to reconsider its decision.

Speaking at a function to mark the Congress foundation day at the party headquarters here on Saturday, she said the issue was decided on Friday itself when Mr. Gandhi made it clear that he did not “agree with that decision [to reject the report]” and the State government should reconsider it.

On January 9, 2011, Maharashtra Government had appointed a two-member judicial commission comprising retired Bombay High Court judge J.A. Patil and former State Chief Secretary P. Subramanian, under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952 to investigate alleged irregularities and corruption. The report of the panel had indicted four former chief ministers, two Urban Development Ministers and 12 bureaucrats. Though the final report was submitted in April 2013, it was only after a Bombay High Court order that it was tabled by the Maharashtra Government in the Assembly on the last day of the Winter Session. But it was then summarily rejected by the Maharashtra Cabinet.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attended the function. Seeking to draw the spotlight away from the Congress on the issue of corruption, Ms. Gandhi called upon the media to look at other States, too. “I would ask the media to please look at other States led by other parties also, something about corruption… among their [the other parties] own friends and particularly among some of their Ministers,” she said.

She said the Congress should not be singled out when it came to probing wrongdoings. “Look at us by all means and point out our mistakes, but look at others also.”

Stating that the Congress was keen on combating corruption, Ms. Gandhi recalled how the UPA government had ensured the smooth passage of the Lokpal Bill to create a corruption monitor.

Rahul Gandhi, who has of late come into his own by first criticising his Government’s move to issue an Ordinance for protecting convicted MLAs and MPs from expulsion, and then ensuring the quick passage of the Lok Pal, had taken everyone in the party by surprise on Friday by insisting that he had told the Maharashtra CM his opinion on the Adarsh scam and there was “no question of protecting anyone”.

Subsequently, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had declared that he would “consult his Cabinet colleagues” in the matter of the report.

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