'Coffin March', New Delhi
NDA’s sinister conspiracy to hoodwink the truth stood exposed with refusal of Defence Ministry to furnish report of CVC dated March 31, 2001 on ‘Operation Vijay’ to the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament. In yet another replay of Constitutional impropriety and trampling of democratic institutions, BJP went to the extent of calling the report of PAC false and incorrect in its unfathomable quest to defend the corrupt deeds of Defence Minister, Shri George Fernandes.
We, at Indian Youth Congress, took out a ‘Coffin March’ carrying Coffins and hearse to the house of Defence Minister, Shri George Fernandes, at 3, Krishna Menon Marg, New Delhi on 8th August, 2003. Although Delhi Police had started arresting Youth Congress boys since the morning, nearly a thousand of us managed to reach and Gherao the residence of Defence Minister, Shri George Fernandes. Police resorted to lathi charge and caning on the Youth Congress boys without any provocation. We particularly pointed out that out of 123 contracts worth Rs.2163.09 crores entered into in garb of ‘Operation Vijay’ (held in May/June 1999), supplies worth Rs. 2150 crores were received after the cessation of hostilities in June 1999. Out of this 2150 crores also, supplies worth Rs. 1762.21 crores were received after January 2000 i.e. six months after cessation of hostilities. Also, a total of Rs. 1046 crores was unjustifiably usurped and wasted although the troops did not get clothing, ammunition and arms on time. All this and more with regard to middlemen and defective nature of contract stands exposed by the report of CVC.
All of us, including the IYC President, Sh. Randeep Singh Surjewala were arrested after lathi charge and detained till evening in Tuglak Road Police Station. Our protest even triggered Shri George Fernandes to hold a press conference on 9th August, 2003 to meekly deny his role in the ‘Coffin Scam’.