New Delhi, Apr 13 UNI | 3 months ago

The Prime Minister Office today termed completely baseless and mischievous statement by former media adviser to PM Sanjay Baru that PMO files were seen by Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

It is completely denied that any PMO file has ever been shown to Gandhi, said PMO spokesperson Pankaj Pachauri.

"The statement being attributed to a former Media Advisor to the Prime Minister that PMO files were seen by the Congress President, Sonia Gandhi is completely baseless and mischievous. It is categorically denied that any PMO file has ever been shown to Sonia Gandhi," Mr Pachauri.

He said the book written by the former media adviser is an attempt to misuse a privileged position and access to high "office to gain credibility and to apparently exploit it for commercial gain. The commentary smacks of fiction and coloured views of a former adviser. The question about comments of the former media adviser was raised by senior editors when they met the Prime Minister in October last year. His answer was -'Do not believe all he is saying'," he said.

Mr Baru, a senior editor and PM's Media Adviser between 2004 and 2008, in his 301-page book 'The Accidental Prime Minister--The Making and Unmaking Of Manmohan Singh', said Pulok Chatterjee, who was inducted into the Manmohan Singh PMO at the behest of Sonia Gandhi, had regular, almost daily, meetings with Sonia at which he was said to brief her on the key policy issues of the day and seek her instructions on important files to be cleared by the PM.

"Indeed, Pulok was the single most point of regular contact between PM and Sonia. He was also the PMO's main point of contact with the NAC, a high profile advisory body chaired by Sonia Gandhi, with social activists as members. It was sometimes dubbed the shadow cabinet."

As the observations created a flutter, Mr Baru said, "it was not a secret.' He said it was well known that Chatterjee was Sonia Gandhi's secretary when she was the Leader of Opposition and had also worked with the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation chaired by her.

"He was very much part of the family...I was not witness to it, whether she physically saw the files. I knew she was consulted on issues and he was taking her concurrence," said Mr Baru, who had resigned from the PMO in 2008 while Chatterjee joined it in 2011.

(Posted on 13-04-2014)