The Lok Sabha Speaker’s decision to extend the term of the committee probing lawmaker Bhagwant Mann’s act of shooting and uploading a video that allegedly compromised security at the Parliament House has the Aam Aadmi Party crying “political conspiracy”.
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan agreed to a request from the committee’s chairman Kirit Somaiya and extended the term of the committee for a second time, now till the first week of the Winter session of Parliament. Mann will have to stay away from the Lok Sabha till the committee submits its report. “Have I dug a tunnel under Parliament that they need to unearth? Why do they need so much time? They are just trying to keep me away from Parliament,” Mann told HT.
Blaming the ruling BJP, the AAP today said keeping Mann away from Parliament was a ploy to keep issues of poll-bound Punjab from being raised in the Lok Sabha. The BJP has been in power there for nearly a decade in alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal. The nine member committee has three BJP MPs including Somaiya. “Mann is being pressured into changing his statement to the committee in which he has said Prime Minister Narendra Modi committed a bigger security breach by inviting (Pakistan’s ) ISI to the Pathankot air base,” AAP leader Ashish Khetan said.
Dismissing AAP’s allegation, Somaiya said the committee had unanimously asked for an extension in its last meeting, held before the budget session of Parliament ended on August 12.
As the session ended, some committee members had said the probe should now be concluded and a report submitted to the Speaker. Somaiya said he forwarded the committee’s request to the Speaker on August 17 and those members who have objections can raise the issue in the next meeting on August 23.