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No action against stung MLAs, for now

A COMMITTEE of the Vidhan Sabha would be constituted to probe charges against the three stung MLAs, including Minister of State for Backward Classes Welfare Mehboob Ali, who got a breather today with leaders deciding to follow principle of natural justice even as they indulged in media bashing.

india Updated: Feb 18, 2006 01:42 IST

A COMMITTEE of the Vidhan Sabha would be constituted to probe charges against the three stung MLAs, including Minister of State for Backward Classes Welfare Mehboob Ali, who got a breather today with leaders deciding to follow principle of natural justice even as they indulged in media bashing.

Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey made the announcement about constituting the committee after hearing leaders of all political parties, including Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, on a motion moved by Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Pramod Tiwari. Terms of reference of committee would be announced soon and efforts would be made to ensure that it submitted its report before the House got prorogued after passing annual budget for 2006-2007 next month, said the Speaker.

The Speaker said the committee, however, may be given some more time if it failed to complete the probe by then. Though the decision has been taken by citing principles of natural justice, it comes as an obvious breather to the three MLAs who would now get an opportunity of hearing. This also brings some respite to Mehboob Ali, who is likely to remain in office till found guilty by the committee. Any action against the MLAs or the minister would not be in the interest of natural justice, said Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav while replying to the Congress’s motion.

Yadav, however, quoted legal provisions to make his point that accepting bribe and offering bribe were criminal offences and the committee should take this into account while probing the issue. Yadav said the authenticity of tapes needed to be examined.

Who was the real target of the sting operation should be an issue of probe and the committee should examine both the parties, he said adding he would favour action against the MLAs and the minister if they were found guilty.

Significantly, the occasion provided an opportunity for media bashing to leaders of opposition and treasury benches for what they called overstepping the limits.

Media did not enjoy unfettered rights to cast aspersions on MLAs and ridicule the Vidhan Sabha, they said.

BSP’s Swami Prasad Maurya was vociferous in his attacks saying by carrying out the “Neta Bikta Hai’ programme, the channels were defaming the entire class of politicians. No one had any right to point an accusing finger on politicians merely on the basis of conduct of three MLAs, he said. Quoting provisions of Indian Telegraph Act, Maurya said tapping anybody’s conversation was a serious crime.

Maurya even defended his party MLA Anil Maurya saying legislators had over two dozen licensed arms in the name of his family members. How could he indulge in illicit arms trade, he said adding those carrying out sting operation went to the legislator and talked to him as a family member.

Urging the Speaker to take the CD of the sting operation in his possession, Maurya said the legislator was a strict vegetarian and how could he be in hunting.

His family paid a sum of Rs 5 lakh as salary to the employees of an NGO; how could he accept Rs 5000 as bribe, said Maurya.

Ajay Kumar of Rashtriya Lok Dal demanded that a case be registered against the legislators under the provisions of Anti-Corruption Act if they were found guilt.

First Published: Feb 18, 2006 01:42 IST