New Delhi: Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley, on Tuesday hit back at Press Council of India chairman Justice Markandey Katju, saying the former Supreme Court judge must quit his position if he wishes to get into the political space.
In an exclusive interview to IBN18 Editor-in-chief Rajdeep Sardesai, the senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader while accusing the Press Council of India chairman of indulging in "war of words" with him questioned, "Can somebody holding judicial or quasi-judicial position get into the political space?"
Jaitley further pointed that the BJP had slammed Katju even when he attacked Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan. "When Justice Katju targeted the Maharashtra government, he came under lot of criticism then as well," he said.
Accepting that he had targeted Katju in his recent article, the senior BJP leader said, "I have clearly said that the BJP will raise the issue on the floor of the House."
The Rajya Sabha Leader of Opposition also attacked the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government over the AgustaWestland chopper deal. "We don't target the government, they give us an opportunity to target them," said Jaitley.
The BJP leader said that it was the responsibility of the government to identify the bribe takers in the case, adding, "debate on AgustaWestland in Parliament is not a substitute for the identification of the bribe taker". He also said that even scrapping the deal was no substitution for the identification of bribe takers.
When asked if he suspected that someone having authority, and not a middleman, was the real bribe taker in the chopper deal case, Jaitley said, "A middleman gets commission, bribes go to the decision makers."
The Rajya Sabha leader of opposition further reiterated that Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde must express regret for his statement on Hindu terror and withdraw it. He said, "Shinde's statement has given a lot of fuel to Pakistan and Hafiz Saeed."
He was later asked about the rising stature of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the BJP, and the voices supporting him as the prime ministerial candidate of the party. Responding to it, Jaitley asserted that Modi was in fact "a very important and popular leader of the BJP".
Jaitley, however, added that what responsibility would be given to the Gujarat Chief Minister in future would be the prerogative of the BJP, and a decision on it cannot be taken on a public platform.
Meanwhile, on the issue of his call records being traced, Jaitley said that though the issue does not affect him personally, he finds "it curious why somebody should be attempting to get his call records".
"Is it easy for anybody to access police system and records to access anybody's call records? Don't know who are the perpetrators and who have been arrested," said Jaitley, adding he was not worried about his phone being tapped.