A defiant Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP Bhagwant Mann on Monday told a committee set up to probe his Parliament House videography issue that he has not breached the security, which members said was a contradiction as he has already tendered an unconditional apology for his act to the speaker.
Mann was grilled by the committee for nearly one-and-a-half hours during which he maintained that he has not breached security of the high security complex. He is learnt to have reiterated his demand that the ambit of the panel be extended to summon the Prime Minister for “inviting” ISI personnel to the Pathankot airbase in the aftermath of a terror strike there in January.
“In a way he was not repenting... He asked for more time and said he cannot appear tomorrow. We have asked him on August 3 now,” said a panel member.
Last week, in a five-page letter, Mann had refused to tender an unqualified apology and had demanded that the Prime Minister too be summoned before the committee.
Since the committee has to submit its report on August 3 to the Lok Sabha Speaker, it may seek an extension.
“We were mandated to find out whether Mann has breached security and if he has, the action which needed to be taken. The other task is to recommend how such breaches can be prevented in the future. But so far we have not touched upon this aspect as we have concentrated on Mann. We may need more time now,” said another member.
At the meeting on Monday, several members were “cut up” as Mann’s response was considered as “contradictory and confusing”.
Members pointed out to him that while he wants the panel to be wound up as he has not committed a breach, on the other hand he wants its ambit to include the Prime Minister.
While most members want the panel to recommend “stringent action”, others want him to have his final say on Wednesday before taking a final call.
In the nearly 12-minute video, apparently shot on July 21, Mann gives a running commentary as his vehicle crosses security barricades and enters Parliament. “I’ll today show you something you would not have seen earlier,” he says.
Mann then enters a room where questions to be taken up inside Parliament are being sorted and describes the process.