The alleged involvement of Telecom Minister A. Raja in the 2G spectrum allocation scam continued to rock both Houses of Parliament on Thursday with Opposition MPs in the Rajya Sabha waving CDs purportedly containing minister’s taped conversation with lobbyist Niira Radia.
Immediately after the Rajya Sabha assembled in the morning, AIADMK members forced a brief adjournment before they walked out demanding Raja’s dismissal from the Union cabinet.
They displayed CDs and newspapers showing purported taped conversations between Raja and public relations lobbyist Radia aired by a TV channel, also reported by some newspapers. The tapes also reveal conversations between Radia and DMK Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi, daughter of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi.
“Who decides cabinet portfolios? How are they working? Dismiss Raja,” shouted AIADMK leader V. Maitreyan.
Chairman Hamid Ansari objected to the members displaying CDs or newspapers. “This is incorrect. Please do not disrupt the Question Hour,” he said.
The AIADMK MPs walked out after a rebuke from Ansari for their “disgraceful behaviour”.
During Zero Hour in the Lok Sabha, AIADMK MP M. Thambidurai asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take the issue seriously
and order a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe.
Thambidurai said Raja should be “kept out of the ministry” till the JPC probe and the CBI’s investigation were over.
He reminded Leader of the House and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee of his promise that the government would respond to the issues raised by the Opposition, including the 2G spectrum allocation, before the current session ended.
Thambidurai was supported by BJP members, led by its deputy leader Gopinath Munde and Yashwant Sinha, in demanding the JPC probe.
DMK leader T.R. Baalu strongly protested against the issue being raised, but Thambidurai retorted, “I am not levelling any allegation. I am bringing facts to the House."
He alleged that the country had lost Rs 1 lakh crore in the allocation of 2G spectrum during 2007-08.
As the AIADMK members were about enter the well, Speaker Meira Kumar adjourned the House for an hour.