BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: South Asia
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 



The BBC's Mike Wooldridge
"The opposition...was baying for the governments blood"
 real 56k

Tehelka.com's CEO, Tarun Tejpal
"We blanked out the (expected) fallout altogether"
 real 56k

Wednesday, 14 March, 2001, 22:16 GMT
Scandal threatens Indian coalition
Burning effigy of Prime Minister Vajpayee
The scandal has provoked anger at the government
The bribery scandal in India, which has already forced the resignation of the president of the main governing party, the BJP, is posing a further threat to the future of the coalition.

A key coalition partner, the Trinamool Congress, stayed away from a crucial meeting of the alliance, demanding the resignation of the defence minister, George Fernandes.

The BJP chairman, Bangaru Laxman, resigned and four defence officials were suspended on Tuesday after an internet company released video tapes showing them accepting more than $2,000 from journalists posing as arms dealers.

Atal Behari Vajpayee
Prime Minister Vajpayee is facing resignation calls
Earlier, parliament was adjourned as angry opposition deputies insisted that the government must stand down.

Meanwhile, resisting calls for the resignation of the government , the BJP has described the events as a political conspiracy against them.

The party spokesman, Vijay Kumar Malhotra, said that "honesty is the biggest asset of the government and a conspiracy has been hatched to destroy it."

Cracks appearing

Though the BJP claims that its supporters are solidly behind it, cracks have begun to appear, with some allies such as the Telugu Desam Party demanding an independent inquiry into the incident.

Opposition parties cutting across party lines brought Parliament to a standstill on Wednesday, insisting that the government must stand down.

Officials were forced to adjourn sessions of the upper and lower houses until 2pm (0830 GMT) after the MPs chanted calls for Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to quit.

After an emergency cabinet meeting, the government said it was ready to investigate the allegations made by Tehelka.com.

Damning footage

The website said two of its journalists had posed as businessmen for a fake company, West End International, trying to sell fictitious hand-held thermal imaging devices to the Indian military.

Names in the frame
BJP President Bangaru Laxman
Samata Party leader Jaya Jaitley
Senior Defence Ministry official PSK Choudhary
Various defence officials and middlemen

They used hidden cameras to videotape politicians, bureaucrats and army officers accepting money.

In one of the most dramatic clips, Mr Laxman is shown taking a wad of currency notes and placing it next to him.

The incident comes amid court hearings into the Bofors arms scandal in the 1980s, in which a number of Indian politicians as well as businessmen are accused of taking bribes.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

09 Mar 01 | South Asia
Hindujas asked for Bofors details
01 Aug 00 | South Asia
Lower caste chief for BJP
14 Mar 01 | South Asia
Indian website breaks the mould
14 Mar 01 | South Asia
The Tehelka tapes
14 Mar 01 | South Asia
Heads roll in India bribery scandal
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more South Asia stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more South Asia stories