Cash-for-query: Bansal quits as probe panel head

Bansal resigned after he was accused of misusing development funds provided to lawmakers.

india Updated: Jan 25, 2006 21:54 IST

Senior Congress MP Pawan Kumar Bansal has resigned as head of a parliamentary panel probing graft charges against parliamentarians.

Bansal resigned after he was accused of misusing development funds provided to lawmakers.

Confirming the receipt of Bansal's resignation, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee's office said it had not yet been accepted.

"The Speaker has received his resignation letter. But he will take a decision on it later," an official in Chatterjee's office said.

Bansal, who is also the Congress chief whip in the Lok Sabha, heads the panel that recommended the expulsion of 10 MPs of the lower house.
The 10 MPs were linked to the cash-for-questions scam exposed by cobrapost.com last month.

The panel is currently examining charges against five MPs who were exposed by another sting operation into the misuse of funds from the Rs 20 million provided to every parliamentarian to carry out development schemes in his or her constituency.

Bansal has been accused of allocating Rs 500,000 from the scheme for building a squash court at the Chandigarh golf club in 2000.

According to the allegations, Bansal had recommended the allocation on September 12, 2000. The move came six months after he was given honorary membership of the club.

The Chandigarh administration refused to build the court, saying it could a pose security risk to the adjacent Raj Bhawan.

Bansal has reportedly said he was not given membership of the club or sought to join it.

The golf club is run by a registered society. Under the guidelines for MPs to allocate funds, it is ineligible to receive such money, which must be used to create durable assets that are always available for public use.

Chatterjee and several MPs have raised doubts about the effectiveness of the scheme, which was launched by former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao in 1993. Leader of Opposition LK Advani has backed demands to scrap it.

First Published: Jan 25, 2006 21:54 IST