Rajya Sabha was plunged into turmoil today following protests by BJP members who accused the Centre of "assaulting" the federal character of the country by "letting loose" Income Tax department against Gujarat government on investment MoUs signed by it during the Vibrant Gujarat Summit.
The party, joined by BJD and JD(U), forced adjournment of the House till noon after Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley strongly objected to the I-T department seeking details of MoUs between investors and the state government during the Summit in January.
"This is a huge assault on the federalism of India. There is no greater abuse... Do you have animus against people of Gujarat. Is Gujarat an enemy territory. Do you treat the Chief Minister as an enemy?, Jaitley asked during the Zero Hour mention.
The I-T department has sought details about several investors who had signed MoUs with the Gujarat government at this year's Vibrant Gujarat Summit (VGS), he said.
Jaitley said that all opposition governed states including those not ruled by the BJP have been complaining discrimination, be it Uttar Pradesh, Orissa or West Bengal.
Referring to Gujarat, he said the state was doing economically well and attracting investments from all over the world.
Jaitley said the state has institutionalised the system of attracting investment through the event 'Vibrant Gujarat.' Several Indian and global corporations have signed MoUs with the state committing investment to the tune of Rs 25.35 lakh crore. "Instead of feeling proud, you let loose I-T department against those who have entered into MoUs," he said.
The BJP leader said that if the I-T official has written the letter on his own, then it was a dereliction of duty and a "textbook case" for his removal.
If it was done at the behest of political masters, they should come to the House and apologise, Jaitley said leading to protests by BJP members who trooped into the well of the House shouting slogans.
There were heated exchanges between Congress and BJP members which forced Deputy Chairman K Rahman Khan to adjourn the House initially for ten minutes. Tempers ran high when some Congress members retorted saying, "All MoUs are fraud".
When it reassembled, BJP member M Venkaiah Naidu said the only solution to the issue was that either the Prime Minister or the Finance Minister should make a statement.
Jaitley said that on the eve of the Summit, opposition Congress in the state had made a public statement that the Union Finance Ministry must use the I-T department to inquire into MoUs.
The BJP refused to pay heed to Parliamentary Affairs Minister P K Bansal, who said that he was not being allowed to speak on the issue. "They are not letting me to speak" he complained to the Chair.
As the din continued, Khan adjourned the House till 1200 hours.