Aam Aadmi Party MP Bhagwant Mann is scheduled to appear before a Lok Sabha panel on Thursday to defend his Facebook video of his journey from home to Parliament that allegedly compromised the security set up.
Mann, who is scheduled to appear before the panel at 3pm, may be accompanied by a lawyer. Sources said that his plan to bring a lawyer could be a signal that the MP is in a mood to fight it out.
“I don’t think there is a problem if a lawyer comes with him. But the lawyer can’t act as a witness before the panel,” said a member of the nine-member committee headed by BJP MP Kirit Somaiyya.
On July 21, the AAP MP had uploaded the video of his controversial drive-through on Facebook that detailed the security system in and around Parliament.
- July 21: AAP MP Bhagwant Mann posts a self-made video on Facebook that showed his journey from his Delhi home to Parliament
- July 22: In the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, the BJP, Congress and the Akali Dal trigger a furore, alleging that the video compromised Parliament’s security. They demand action against Mann
- July 22: Maan removes the video from Facebook, apologises to Speaker Sumitra Mahajan. But she rejects his apology. "We may have to take action," the Speaker tells the media.
- July 25: Mahajan forms a panel of nine MPs from different parties to look into the issue. She also "advises" Mann against attending the House till the matter is settled. The panel meets in the evening
- July 25: Mann calls a press conference, alleges conspiracy by the BJP, Akali Dal and the Congress
- July 26: Panel summons Delhi top cop Alok Kumar Verma, quizzes watch and ward division of the Lok Sabha
- July 26: Mann says if he is held guilty of security breach, PM Narendra Modi should also be suspended as he allowed ISI sleuths to come to Pathankot for probing a terror attack
- July 27: Panel meets again, quizzes junior security officers
- July 28: Mann to appear with a lawyer
While the video triggered an uproar in Parliament, Mann described it as an ‘educational video’. Unimpressed by his apology, the Speaker asked Mann to stay away from the House until the panel completes its probe.
The BJP and the Akali Dal are keen to see Mann punished, but an Opposition leader pointed out that in August 2005, Parliament security found BJP Lok Sabha MP Vijayendra Pal Singh’s Mercedes car parked in the Parliament complex with a fake sticker.
Singh had claimed it was a deliberate attempt to show the loopholes in the security. The Ethics Committee of the Lok Sabha conducted an inquiry and disapproved of Singh’s “indiscretion” but treated the issue as closed.
The Somaiyya Kirit panel has been asked to submit report on August 3. The committee has already quizzed Lok Sabha’s watch and ward staff and Delhi police commissioner Alok Kumar Verma.