The sting operation which allegedly shows some TMC members taking bribe, has been referred to the ethics committee by Lok Sabha Speaker Speaker Sumitra Mahajan. The panel headed by BJP veteran LK Advani will examine and investigate the charges.
On Wednesday, the Speaker made the announcement immediately after the Question Hour, a day after BJP, Congress and CPI-M came together in Parliament to attack the TMC members. The Opposition continued its demand for a probe.
An ethics committee in 2005 had terminated the membership of 11 MPs, 10 from the Lok Sabha and one from the Rajya Sabha. The committee found the MPs guilty after a sting operation allegedly showed them accepting bribes to help fictitious private firms.
Saugata Roy of the TMC, who is also seen in the video, strongly protested the Speaker’s decision, calling it a “unilateral decision” and said that an enquiry into “unverified” contents should not be made a practice.
In the Rajya Sabha CPI(M) members created an uproar alleged “match-fixing” between the government and Trinamool Congress. They demanded a probe by a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) into the “very serious” matter.
As soon as the listed papers were laid and the Zero Hour began, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said there were two notices on the issue, but these have not been admitted by the Chairman.
Kurien, however, allowed Derik O’Brien (TMC) and Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) to speak on the issue.
The TMC leader rubbished allegations by questioning the authenticity of the video.
“The sting…its credibility needs to be checked,” he said, alleging foreign money was coming to India from Dubai just before the elections in West Bengal.
In a bid to corner ruling party in poll-bound West Bengal, CPI(M) member Sitaram Yechury demanded investigation into the video. In the meantime, his party members trooped into the Well shouting slogans.
“Why is the government not ordering an investigation? It looks like they are also complicit…,” Yechury said, adding there was “match-fixing going on between the two (government and TMC)”.
Referring to an earlier incident, the senior CPI(M) leader said the Lok Sabha Speaker had taken suo motu action when a bribe allegation had surfaced.
Yechury said the Chair had referred the Vijay Mallya case to the Ethics Committee and asked why it cannot be done in this case too.
Kurien replied: “At that time the House was unanimous…Now the House is divided” as one side believes the video and the other says it is doctored.
Through the Zero Hour, CPI(M) members kept raising slogans from the Well of the House.
(With inputs from PTI)