The Aam Aadmi Party alleged “political conspiracy” after the Lok Sabha Speaker decided to extend the term of the committee probing lawmaker Bhagwant Mann’s move to shoot and upload a video that allegedly compromised security at Parliament.
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan agreed to a request from the committee’s chairman Kirit Somaiya and extended the term of the committee for a second time, now till the first week of the Winter session of Parliament.
Mann will have to stay away from the Lok Sabha till the committee submits its report. “Have I dug a tunnel under Parliament that they need to unearth? Why do they need so much time? They are just trying to keep me away from Parliament,” Mann told HT.
Blaming the ruling BJP, the AAP on Sunday said keeping Mann away from Parliament was a ploy to keep issues of poll-bound Punjab from being raised in the Lok Sabha. The BJP has been in power in the state for nearly a decade in alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal. The ninemember committee has three BJP MPs, including Somaiya. “Mann is being pressured into changing his statement to the committee in which he has said PM Narendra Modi committed a bigger security breach by inviting (Pakistan) ISI to the Pathankot airbase,” AAP leader Ashish Khetan said. Dismissing AAP’s allegation, Somaiya said the committee had unanimously asked for an extension in its last meeting, held before the budget session of Parliament culminated on August 12.
As the session ended, some committee members had said the probe should now be concluded and a report submitted to the Speaker. Somaiya said he forwarded the committee’s request to the Speaker on August 17 and those members who have objections can raise the issue in the next meeting on August 23.