The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:
PMO In The Dock
The press conference held by the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister and other officers of the PMO is an unprecedented and unwarranted step. There is the Union Cabinet and Ministers who should answer on matters discussed in the press note issued by the PMO. It is they who are accountable to the people and parliament.
The very act of explaining matters falling under the scope of the various ministries, itself shows how the PMO has become a supra-body riding roughshod over the ministries and the Cabinet.
The press note does not clarify or adequately respond to the various questions raised by the opposition parties and the media. The PMO has been exerting itself unduly at the behest of the Reliance company and as admitted in the note itself, in response to the US government's pleas for an American company to see that undue and unjustified favours are extended to the Hirma power project. What the PMO terms as "Payments Security Mechanisms" is nothing but an euphemism for a guarantee to be extended through the Power Trading Corporation.
As for the Hindujas, the PMO was the most active to procure counter-guarantees on outrageous terms for their Vizag power plant. That it was acting for a business group who are facing prosecution by the CBI for the Bofors deal is obviously of no concern to these gentlemen.
These and many such other instances illustrate how the PMO has become a clearing house for big business and US multinationals. This is a fact confirmed by Bangaru Laxman himself in the tehelka tapes. Why such "commerce" should be undertaken under the cover of the Prime Minister's Office is for the Prime Minister himself to explain.
Whatever be the fate of the officials in the PMO, the whole range of dubious "guarantees" and facilities extended to the mega-crore projects in the different sectors should not be proceeded with. They will have to be reviewed and investigated through the appropriate parliamentary and investigative agencies. The state of the PMO reinforces the demand that the Vajpayee government quit forthwith.