The Uttarakhand assembly speaker on Monday directed constitution of a House committee to probe the veracity of a TV sting operation which purportedly showed a BSP MLA demanding Rs 50 crore to topple the Congress government.
Speaker GS Kunjwal’s decision capped a tumultuous first day of the winter session with the opposition BJP demanding a judicial probe into the sting operation and forcing repeated adjournments.
The BSP is part of the seven-member Progressive Democratic Front (PDF), an ally of the Rawat government, and has three MLAs in the 70-member assembly.
Without the PDF’s backing, the Congress is one short of majority with 35 MLAs.
The MLA in the centre of the storm, Sarbat Karim Ansari, however, claimed the TV footage was fake and said no reporter from the TV channel had interviewed him.
“My conscience is clear and I am ready to face a CBI probe on the issue,” he told HT.
Ansari, an MLA from Manglore in Haridwar, also made a statement in the House in the post-lunch session when the speaker allowed a debate on the issue.
The state unit of the BSP too said it would probe the allegation but added that action against the legislation would be initiated only if the report is proved to be authentic.
A local TV channel had aired the ‘sting operation’ on Sunday.
The report also showed Ansari allegedly demanding an additional Rs 25 lakh to hoist a selected person as chairman of the Power Transmission Corporation of Uttarakhand Ltd, a government undertaking.
BJP’s Ajay Bhatt, the leader of Opposition, raised the issue as soon as the assembly session started at 11 am.
“A judicial probe into the sting operation is a must because it is a major issue of corruption involving a legislator,” he said.
“It’s not a question of one legislator involving in corruption…In fact, this (Rawat) entire government is steeped in corruption,’ Bhatt alleged even as all 28 BJP MLAs rose to their feet in support of their leader.
Kunjwal, however, rejected the demand saying no inquiry could be ordered without the opposition furnishing proof.