Both Houses of Parliament on Monday witnessed repeated disruptions as the Congress attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his remarks that an Italian court mentioned party president Sonia Gandhi’s name in connection with the AugustaWestland chopper deal.
Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, argued that during debates in the House over the issue, no one accused the UPA leadership of taking money. He and deputy leader Anand Sharma argued that since the CBI comes under the Prime Minister, his remarks would influence the probe.
Later in the day, Congress MP Shantaram Naik gave a notice of breach of privilege against the PM for his misleading comments.
In the Lok Sabha, Congress floor leader Mallikarjun Kharge said, the PM’s comments was aimed to influence the CBI and ED, the two agencies probing the scam. “It’s a serious issue and the party may move Privilege Motion against the PM,” added Kharge.
Both Houses debated the chopper scam at length last week, but the issue returned on Monday as Congress leaders referred to Modi’s poll campaign where he allegedly said that UPA leaders took money.
The Upper House got adjourned for the day after repeated disruptions. The Congress walked out of the Lower House after protests.
As the Congress stormed into the well in Rajya Sabha and demanded the PM’s clarification in the house, the Finance bill 2016 could not be taken up. After repeated adjournments, deputy chairman PJ Kurien’s stayed the proceedings for the day. Kurien said that the PM’s remarks were not made in the House so, he can’t take cognizance of it.
Parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiaha Naidu later refuted Congress claims and told the media, “The PM has done nothing wrong. He has addressed a public function and there he said what was already in the public domain, what was there in the court observation also.”
Led by Congress’ V Hanumantha Rao, Kumari Selja and a dozen other MPs, the opposition members demanded an apology from the PM for speaking on Augusta Westland issue outside the parliament.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury told Kurien that on policy issues, members are saying that these kind of statements cannot be made outside Parliament. “We have demanded a Supreme Court-monitored CBI inquiry. Before the policy be implemented...Can Prime Minister make statement outside Parliament,” Yechury asked.
(With PTI inputs)