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Oct 07, 2010 at 11:16pm IST

Cong derosters Singhvi as party spokesperson

New Delhi: The Congress derostered its own spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi, on Wednesday, till the controversy over him appearing for lottery king Santiano Martin is resolved. Singhvi will not be the voice of Congress party at least for some time.

The party leadership is upset at Singhvi becoming the legal counsel for a Kerala lottery baron. The Kerala unit of the party had also objected to Singhvi's role in the lottery case.

The Kerala Congress was angry with Singhvi for defending Martin as it had launched a campaign against the Left government in the state over its alleged links with the lottery mafia.

The Kerala leadership of the party is furious with the high profile lawyer and the national spokesperson of the party as he appeared for lottery mafia king Santiago Martin. Singhvi's move embarrassed the Congress which has been whipping the CPM's led government for its alleged links with Martin.

"The party has taken serious note of it (Singhvi's action). The matter is under consideration of the party and therefore, it is implied that he will perhaps not brief...," said party General Secretary Janardhan Dwivedi.

With local body elections later this month (October), the Congress sees this as a dress rehearsal for the assembly elections. Singhvi withdrew from the case after protests. But for the Kerala unit that was not good enough.

"Martin has been funding the Left Government here in terms of advertisements to his their channels and papers. It is evident that the government has been helping the lottery mafia in many ways," said Ramesh Chennitha, President, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC).

Singhvi's defence of Martin in a Kochi court last week had left government to watch with glee.

"Irrespective of many reports the Central Government has not taken any action to curb the lottery mafia," said Finance Minister of Kerala government Thomas Issac.

Martin's clout cuts across state borders..his agencies sell lottery legally in west Bengal, Kerala and Maharashtra. The recent Bhutan - Sikkim lottery controversy in Kerala has exposed how authorities are hand in glove with the lottery don.

With Singhvi grounded the Congress hopes to regain the moral high ground against the CPM in Kerala. But the clout of Martin continues to be on display.

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