A 2005 case of parliamentary security breach involving a BJP parliamentarian may hold the key in deciding action against Aam Aadmi Party MP Bhagwant Mann, who stoked controversy last week by shooting a video inside the premises.
In August 2005, Parliament security found Lok Sabha MP Vijayendra Pal Singh’s Mercedes car parked in the Parliament complex with a fake sticker.
A defiant Singh 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.
Sources point out that Mann has already apologized to the Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan for shooting the video and said he didn’t intend to expose security details.
The Sangrur MP will appear before the nine-member MPs panel headed by Kirit Somaiya to give his version of the incident. Sources said, Mann has written a letter to Speaker seeking permission to bring a lawyer with him.
Mann had recorded an amateur video on his phone of his drive from his home in South Avenue near Parliament to inside the building, briefly detailing the security arrangements on his way and then posted it on Facebook. He has been asked to skip Parliament till the issue is not settled.
“Before we suggest harsh measures against Mann, we may have to look back at how Singh’s case was treated,” said a member of the panel.
Another MP said any attempt to keep the Sangrur MP out of Parliament for a prolonged period may be counter-productive. “He may make it a political issue that the BJP is not allowing a Punjab MP to raise issues related to the state.”
The panel member pointed out Mann’s act of filming his journey from his Delhi home to Parliament fell in a grey area of the rule book: “We can’t say what exact rules he has broken.”
The panel may also suggest changing rules in the wake of this incident.