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PMO fiat to CBI stalls Parliament

Both Houses were adjourned over PM office writing to the investigating agency on action taken against Advani.

india Updated: Feb 23, 2006 16:46 IST

Parliament was adjourned on Thursday over demands for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's resignation over a letter purportedly written to the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI).

The letter questioned CBI's inaction over Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader LK Advani's discharge in the Babri Masjid demolition case.

The issue led to pandemonium in both the Lok Sabha, which was adjourned thrice, and the Rajya Sabha with BJP members demanding the Prime Minister to quit.

The Lok Sabha was adjourned twice in the pre-lunch session but the pandemonium persisted when the House re-assembled, forcing Deputy Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal to adjourn it for the day.

Earlier, as the Lok Sabha met for the day, BJP members were on their feet and asked Atwal for permission to speak on a media report about the letter written by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Instead, Atwal asked PA Sangma, the newly elected Nationalist Congress Party MP from Tura constituency in Meghalaya, to take his oath.

Immediately after the oath-taking, BJP deputy leader VK Malhotra raised the CBI issue, saying: "Yesterday (Defence Minister) Pranab Mukherjee said the government does not interfere in CBI matters but it is reported that the PMO asked the CBI why there was no action against Advani."

According to Malhotra, the government was trying to save Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, who allegedly received kickbacks in the Rs.640 million Bofors case, while it was moving against Advani, who is the leader of the opposition it the Lok Sabha.

According to a report, the PMO wrote to then CBI director US Mishra in August 2005 asking him to explain how and why no appeal had been filed against Advani's discharge in the case relating to his delivering inflammatory speeches leading to the demolition of the mosque Dec 6, 1992.

There was pandemonium in the Lok Sabha as the opposition members ran into the well of the House, shouting slogans against Congress president Sonia Gandhi and demanding the Prime Minister's resignation. The Congress members countered the slogans. Atwal then adjourned the house till 11.30 a.m.

Advani and Gandhi were not present in the House.

The uproar continued when the House reassembled a little later, forcing the deputy speaker to adjourn the House till noon.

In the Rajya Sabha, the issue was raised by BJP leader Jaswant Singh, who is also Leader of the Opposition in the House.

Manmohan Singh, who was present, was willing to respond to the Opposition allegations but the BJP members insisted that Arun Jaitley speak before the Prime Minister's explanation.

The House was plunged into chaos as the treasury benches opposed the BJP's demand, forcing Chairman Bhairon Singh Shekhawat to adjourn the Rajya Sabha till 12 noon.

First Published: Feb 23, 2006 11:56 IST