Congress MPs write to Sonia, seek action against Singhvi


New Delhi : The Congress Wednesday barred party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Sighvi from briefing the media till a decision is taken on a complaint from party leaders in Kerala on his defending in court a lottery distributor accused of irregularities.

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Asked about the party’s response to Singhvi appearing in the case against strong advice of party’s Kerala leaders, Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said the party has taken a serious view of it.

Asked whether Singhvi will not address briefings till a decision is taken, Dwivedi said: “The later part is implied.”

“The party has taken a serious view of it. Implied in this is that he will probably not brief till that time (till a decision is taken),” Dwivedi said.

The decision on Singhvi comes after Congress leaders from Kerala complained to party president Sonia Gandhi that the Congress-led alliance would face a setback in the coming local body elections if some action was not taken against Singhvi even though he has withdrawn from the case.

Singhvi last week appeared for Megha Distributors, an agent for lotteries of Sikkim and Bhutan, which is accused of irregularities. This upset Congress leaders in Kerala, who have consistently alleged that the firm’s owner was linked to the state’s ruling CPI-M.

The state Congress, headed by Ramesh Chennithala, has been campaigning against lotteries from outside the state.

“Our complaint against Singhvi is being taken up in the most serious manner by our party national leadership and it was most improper for Singhvi to appear in this case when we have taken this as a major corruption issue against the Left government,” leader of opposition in Kerala assembly Oommen Chandy said in Thiruvananthapuram.

Left leaders in Kerala, including state Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, have alleged that Singhvi took the case with the full knowledge of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.