Regulators

With Pramod Mahajan's name dragged into Delhi scribe's murder case, question mark on Convergence bill?

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NEW DELHI: Information Technology & Communication and parliamentary affairs minister Pramod Mahajan is staying put for the moment as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) closed ranks to support his case. But there is no denying that his future and that of various issues related to his first ministry look a bit uncertain now that Madhu Sharma, wife of a police officer RK Sharma accused in a murder case of an Indian journalist, has alleged that both Mahajan and home minister and deputy prime minister LK Advani are involved in the murder case.

Former minister of state for information and broadcasting and now a general secretary in the BJP, MA Naqvi told indiantelevision.com today morning, "There is no question of Pramodji resigning even on moral grounds."

But in India where political mileage and gains are wrested even out of national calamities, the allegations levelled by Mrs Sharma yesterday at a recorded and televised press conference gives ammunition to the opponents and detractors of Mahajan within and outside his party.

Mrs Sharma on the Independence Day alleged that Mahajan was involved in the murder of Shivani Bhatnagar, a senior journalist working with the Delhi edition of The Indian Express. Married to The Times of India's Delhi edition legal editor Rakesh Bhatnagar, Shivani's murder has returned to the limelight this year after being in limbo for over two years. Mrs Sharma's husband, RK Sharma, IGP (prisons), posted in Chandigarh, has a non-bailable warrant issued against him and has been "missing" for over a month now. His plea to stay his arrest has been rejected by various courts several times.

Though Advani came out in support of Mahajan today when he stated that allegations levelled against his colleague are "baseless" and the work of "vested interests", the stand seems contrary to what Mrs Sharma has alleged.

Mrs Sharma has alleged that the Delhi Police are putting undue pressure on the Sharma family at the behest of the home ministry so that RK Sharma spells out Mahajan's alleged involvement in the murder case.

If that is so, then the home ministry wants that the politicians' names should come out in the open in connection with this now three-year-old unsolved murder case and it also indicates that may be Mahajan and Advani are not as close as is being painted by the BJP in the media , a political analyst said.

But topping the worry-list is the Communications and Convergence Bill which could have been okayed during the next session of Parliament subsequent to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on IT and telecommunication presenting its report on the Bill.

But now with BJP politicians being named in a murder case, the next session is likely to echo with similar matters with the Opposition baying for Mahajan's blood - something which, surprisingly, has not been done by the Opposition till now.

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