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Nandigram MLA barred from assembly

india Updated: Dec 10, 2007 20:52 IST
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Communist Party of India (CPI) legislator from Nandigram Mohammed Iliyas, who was caught on camera accepting bribes for raising questions in the state assembly, was on Monday barred from attending the house till December 21.

"Mohammad Iliyas has been requested not to attend the house till the committee formed to investigate the matter submits its report in the assembly," Speaker Hasim Abdul Halim told IANS.

He said an eight-member committee would submit its report on December 21.

A privilege motion was moved against Iliyas after a sting by a local television channel showed the legislator accepting bribes for raising a question in the house.

Trinamul Congress MLA Saugata Roy had moved the privilege motion against Iliyas.

The legislator had allegedly accepted bribes to introduce a TV reporter, who presented himself as a member of an NGO working for children, to local leaders of Nandigram.

Iliyas agreed to rise in the house the issue of children affected by the violence in Nandigram in the last 11 months. The reporter allegedly requested Iliyas to give him a certificate facilitating the activities of the NGO in the trouble-torn district.

Iliyas had reportedly agreed to meet the 'NGO representatives' at the state MLAs' hostel on December 5. The sting crew was invited to his quarters where they found him waiting alone.

After the initial introduction, the issue of a certificate introducing the 'NGO' was raised. Those carrying out the sting claim Iliyas dropped hints of a "financial deal" to solve the problem of entering the villages. He was told that Rs 30-40 million could be arranged from international and national agencies to work for the children.

They convinced him that once the issue of suffering children was raised in the assembly, the media would take it up and thus attract private funding agencies.

It is alleged that Iliyas demanded Rs 300,000 from the 'NGO' for the certificate and permit to work in the area.

He was allegedly paid Rs 10,000 and promised the rest later.

CPI state secretary Manju Kumar Mazumdar had earlier asked Iliyas to submit a written explanation to the party about the charges against him.

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) legislator and West Bengal Transport Minister Subhas Chakraborty, however, said the allegation against Iliyas was a conspiracy by the opposition.