1 Dec 2005

Probe into India dollars for Fiji's Chaudhry

5:04 pm on 1 December 2005

It's been reported that an investigation has been ordered into funds amounting to 23,000 US dollars collected for the Fiji opposition leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, in the Indian state of Haryana in 2001.

Fiji TV reports the money was collected by the then ruling party in Haryana, the Indian National Lok Dal, and its leader, Om Orakash Chautala.

The report from India says the money was deposited into the Oriental Bank of Commerce in the name of the Indo-Fijian friendship society.

On the state government's Vigilance Bureau investigation into the money, the current secretary of the Indian National Lok Dal, Ajay Singh Chautala, says they will welcome any probe.

He says they would have no objection if the present government arranged for the transfer of the money to Fiji.

In parliament in Fiji, the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, has challenged Mr Chaudhry to tell the truth about the money, where it is now and what it is used for.

Mr Chaudhry has neither confirmed or denied the reports.