Wed, Apr 25, 2012 - Page 5 News List

Politician resigns in sex-tape scandal

Reuters, NEW DELHI

Abhishek Singhvi, spokesman of India’s ruling Congress party, speaks to the media at his residence in New Delhi on Sept. 2 last year.

Photo: Reuters

The spokesman of India’s ruling Congress party resigned on Monday after a video purportedly showing him having sex with a woman was distributed on YouTube and other Web sites, in a fresh embarrassment for the Indian government.

The former spokesman and prominent lawyer, Abhishek Singh-vi, said the video was fake and strongly denied news reports that he had offered to help the woman become a judge.

The allegations have not been verified.

Singhvi, who had been a rising star in the party, also resigned from a powerful parliamentary law committee he headed.

His resignation came after a CD recording was circulated on the Internet that was purported to contain proof of the alleged offer to help the woman be a judge.

“Specifically, some sections of the print and visual media are spreading a falsehood simply by repetition and hearsay that there is reference in the CD to the promise of any post. No one has heard any such reference in the CD. There is none, simply because it does not exist. It is pure imagination, wishful thinking and sensationalism,” Singhvi said in a statement.

He had earlier obtained a court order to prevent Indian print and TV media from distributing it.

“I have done this only to prevent even the slightest possible parliamentary disruption regarding the purported CDs being circulated about me,” he said in the same statement.

The incident is likely to provoke an uproar in the Indian parliament, which reconvenes on Tuesday next week to debate the 2012-2013 budget and other bills. The main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party said it planned to question Singhvi’s resignation in parliament.

“Singhvi must explain in parliament the reason for his resignation as chairman of the panel on law and justice,” Arun Jaitley, who leads the opposition in the upper house, told reporters.

Hit by a series of corruption scandals and weakened by querulous coalition partners, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Congress party-led government has struggled to pass major legislation in the past few years.

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