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Congress goes quiet after Jayanthi storm

Former Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan.

Former Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan.   | Photo Credit: M_PRABHU

After reactions by several leaders on Friday following the resignation of former Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan, the Congress seemed to have withdrawn into a shell on Saturday. Party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, the target of Ms. Natarajan’s ire, has not responded to the charges, leaving the job to party spokespersons.

The only Congress line on Saturday on the exit of Ms. Natarajan came from Sharmistha Mukherjee, party candidate in the Delhi Assembly elections.

“If Jayanthi is acting so righteous now, why didn’t she stand up before? Her motive and timing should be questioned,” Ms. Muhkerjee, daughter of President Pranab Mukherjee, said.

Meanwhile, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said it has no immediate plans to question Ms. Natarajan in the ongoing probe into the alleged diversion of forestland by two private companies for mining purposes, during her tenure.

“As on date, the then Environment Ministry officials under whom the alleged diversion of forest land took place can be examined and relevant documents studied. Based on the findings, if necessary, we may seek clarifications from Ms. Natarajan at a later stage,” said a CBI official.

Responding to Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar’s statement that all the files related to the projects she had mentioned in her letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, as published exclusively by The Hindu on Friday, would be reviewed, Ms. Natarajan has welcomed any inquiry, including a CBI probe, into decisions taken by her as Minister.

Preliminary enquiries

The CBI has registered two preliminary enquiries against unknown officials of the Environment Ministry, Jindal Steel and Power Limited and JSW Steel Limited for alleged diversion of forest land for mining purposes in Jharkhand.

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Printable version | Aug 11, 2020 7:27:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/congress-goes-quiet-after-jayanthi-storm/article6843061.ece

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