Press Statement

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:

Remove George Fernandes

The CAG report on the procurement for the armed forces during the Kargil conflict reveal largescale bungling and corrupt practices. There can be no more damning indictment than the conclusion arrived at in the report that Rs. 1046 crore, half of it in foreign exchange, was frittered away "breaching established principles of propriety".

The worst case concerns the buying of coffins at the rate of $ 2500 or equivalent to Rs. 1.09 lakh per piece. It is ridiculous to import aluminum coffins from the United States of America when such coffins can be easily produced and made available in the country. The scam involving the supply of cost inflated and overweight coffins to carry the bodies of Indian soldiers killed in Kargil, shows the depths of degeneration in the ministry presided over by George Fernandes.

George Fernandes should not have been re-inducted as minister of defence in the first place, when a judicial commission was investigating the tehelka tapes exposure. Now with the series of defence equipment related scandals tumbling out, the entire country would demand that he be immediately removed from his post. Nothing less can be acceptable to restore confidence among the people in the vital defence ministry.

The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) calls upon all its Party units to mobilise the people to protest against this latest scandal and demand the removal of the defence minister.