Naidu calls for 'special' probe team

Special Correspondent

Writes to Manmohan

Wants special courts to try accused in passport scam`Those found guilty should be banned from holding public office'

HYDERABAD: Opposition Leader N. Chandrababu Naidu has urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to constitute an inter-State Special Investigation Team along with the Central Bureau of Investigation to probe the passport scandal and debar the guilty from holding public office.

At a press conference here on Sunday, he released copies of a letter he had written to Dr. Singh. The demands include setting up of special courts to try the offences. He said that from the beginning he had been reiterating that anyone involved, regardless of the political party he or she belonged to, should be brought to book.

In his letter, he wrote, "the manner in which these frauds are committed, with responsible politicians actively participating in them for large sums of money, will remain a most shameful chapter in our country's history, apart from bringing our entire political establishment into disrepute".

Mr. Naidu criticised the Centre for being a mute spectator to the developments relating to the passport scam and demanded that an official statement be made, giving details of those involved.

TDP's stance

He said the TDP had always stood for values in politics. The party would suspend anybody, irrespective of their position, if proof was found of his/her involvement in the passport scam.

He added that it should not be used by the ruling party as a tool to blackmail those in the Opposition.

The Telugu Desam president expressed concern at Hyderabad emerging as a hub for crimes of every kind and a haven for criminals. "Any scam or crime anywhere across the country seems to be having a Hyderabad link," he said, adding that criminals were taking political shelter in the capital.

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