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Prime Minister Rejects Calls For Resignation

June 29, 1993

BOMBAY, India (AP) _ Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, accused of taking a $325,000 political donation from a stockbroker charged in a huge financial scandal, rejected opposition calls for his resignation Monday.

Although it is not clear such a donation would violate election law, Rao could be forced from office by public outrage if it was shown he took money from a man accused in one of India’s biggest scandals.

But Rao said in an interview with The Associated Press, ″I don’t think my office is at stake.″

Stockbroker Harshad Mehta, a key suspect in a $1.2 billion scheme involving illegal trading in stocks by banks, called a news conference Monday to buttress the charges he made against Rao two weeks ago.

Mehta played a tape he said was of a conversation with a businessman who allegedly set up a November 1991 meeting with Rao. In the tape, a man agrees money was paid in two installments.

Rao denies accepting any donation from Mehta and has provided entries from his personal diary to show he did not meet Mehta when Mehta claims he did.

Opposition parties have called for Rao’s resignation, saying the charge taints him with the stock scandal.

Mehta was arrested more than a year ago on charges of criminal conspiracy, forgery and cheating in a scandal in which banks violated federal rules while buying securities and investing the funds of their clients.

Some stockbrokers secretly invested the money in Bombay’s stock market, causing a boom that collapsed when the scandal was discovered in April 1992.

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