The Polit Bureau statement:
Defence Minister Must Quit
After refusing to explain to Parliament the reasons for the arbitrary dismissal of Admiral Bhagwat as the Naval Chief of Staff and obstructing a serious discussion on the matter in both Houses, the Defence Minister, George Fernandes, has begun a media campaign to state his case. When the demand was made to place all relevant papers before Parliament, the Vajpayee government refused to do so citing national security reasons. Now George Fernandes in interviews on television has quoted from classified papers. It shows utter contempt for Parliament. It is an insult to the intelligence of the people to selectively place some quotations from files and hide vital facts in order to explain away an unjustifiable case. The Defence Minister is desperately trying to cover up his interference in operations of the armed forces against arms smuggling after the success of "Operation Leech" which seized a vessel with arms near the Andamans last year. No proper conclusion can be drawn unless there is a full-fledged enquiry conducted by Joint Parliamentary Committee. Till then George Fernandes cannot continue as the Defence Minister.