A leading Protestant bishop has endorsed widespread calls for the resignation of India's ruling federal coalition following revelations on a Web site last week of government corruption.

"The present government should resign immediately," says Bishop Z. James Terom, moderator of one of India's leading denominations, the Church of North India (CNI).

Referring to the corruption scandal that has rocked the nation, the CNI bishop, of Chota Nagpur, said in a telephone interview from his office in Ranchi, in eastern India, that the revelations were "very unfortunate."

On March 13, Tehelka.com, A New Delhi-based Internet news service, released videotapes proving corruption in the Indian military and at a senior level in the government.

The four-hour video showed senior defense officials discussing personal payoffs as they finalized defense purchases. The residence of George Fernandes, federal defense minister, was made available, according to the video, for meetings with supposed arms dealers who were willing to pay bribes.

Bangaru Laxman, president of the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party)—the Hindu party which heads the federal coalition—is shown on one video storing banknotes which had been given to him by reporters posing as arms dealers. To make matters worse, the BJP president states a preference for U.S. dollars rather than rupees for his payment.

The tapes were recorded on hidden cameras by a Tehelka news team posing as agents of "West End International"—a fictitious company. The video also raises questions about a relative of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and senior officials in the prime minister's office.

Laxman resigned within hours of the video being telecast by Indian news channels. George Fernandes stepped down March 15 ...

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