CPI welcomes SC stay on journalists' arrest

Dharmapuri Nov. 10. Democracy needs to be defended constantly as it is being done in the case of freedom, according to the Communist Party of India secretary, A.B. Bardhan.

Addressing presspersons here, Mr. Bardhan welcomed the Supreme Court's stay on the arrest of senior journalists of The Hindu and Murasoli for "breach of privilege".

Democracy should not be taken for granted and vigilance had to be exercised. The Speaker's action was worse than all the curbs put on the press before. The freedom of the press and the right of the media to present news and criticise was a basic fundamental right.

Mr. Bardhan spoke about the exposure in the press on the manner in which NDA Ministers allegedly resorted to extortion and blackmail for getting money out of the public sector undertakings. This had shocked many and he was both "shocked and yet not surprised". The BJP Government at the Centre was the most corrupt in the manner it had been selling Public Sector Undertakings. The most profitable ones with initial reputation had been sold at throwaway prices to both abroad and local monopolies, he alleged.

Mr. Bardhan said the Prime Minister should reveal the names of all those Ministers against whom complaints had been made by the Central Vigilance Commission and the press. A thorough investigation should be conducted into the conduct of these Ministers.

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