NATIONAL

Stamp paper scam part of enemy's conspiracy: Advani

On Board Special IAF Aircraft Nov. 13. Terming the multi-crore fake stamp paper scam as "serious", the Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, today hinted at Pakistan's involvement in the matter saying it was part of the neighbouring country's conspiracy against India.

Without naming Pakistan, Mr. Advani, talking to reporters on the way to Chennai, said, "Our enemies who are trying to destabilise our country through cross-border terrorism are also suspected to be involved in this crime."

Mr. Advani, who is also the Home Minister, said the Centre would extend all help to the Maharashtra Government and send the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Intelligence Bureau to investigate the scam, if their assistance was sought.

Calling for a thorough inquiry into the matter, Mr. Advani told reporters that the scam was not confined to Maharashtra but widespread.

Asked if the CBI would be involved in the investigation, he said some other States had also been affected. In Andhra Pradesh, seven related issues had come to light, of which six were being investigated by the State police while the seventh would be handed over to the CBI.

Mr. Advani said he had warned the Maharashtra Chief Minister, Sushilkumar Shinde, of the seriousness of the matter in a recent meeting and the latter had assured him that the Special Investigation Team of the State police was carrying out investigations. However, he denied meeting the State Governor, Mohammad Fazal, on the issue.

Expressing concern over the involvement of senior police officials in the scam, Mr. Advani hoped that the police would be able to work out the case soon.

`Talks with Hurriyat after Ramzan'

The Deputy Prime Minister said that the dialogue process with the separatist Hurriyat Conference leaders would begin after Ramzan and the Assembly polls in five States next month.

Mr. Advani has been named by the Government to hold talks with the Hurriyat, which had expressed interest in holding talks with the Centre. Following his appointment, Mr. Advani has already held two rounds of talks with the Centre's interlocutor on Kashmir, N.N. Vohra and senior Home Ministry officials in this regard. — UNI