A meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs witnessed stormy scenes after Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi did not stay for its entire duration. While the Trinamool Congress, which wanted to raise the issue of Delhi Police vs Arvind Kejriwal government and the Kerala House beef raids, staged a walkout in protest, MPs from the Congress, CPM, CPI and Samajwadi Party also protested against Mehrishi’s rushed attendance.
The agenda for the day’s meeting included Chennai floods, along with any other issues that members wanted discussed. At the meeting, Mehrishi gave a presentation on the floods, followed by one from the Tamil Nadu government. Mehrishi, however, did not take any questions.
“It is an established practice that when officers are called for a meeting they stay till the end. How can the home secretary leave before the meeting is over? Even if there were other scheduled engagements, he should have excused himself citing the standing committee. We can hold even the PM accountable, we are a mini Parliament,” said an MP present in the meeting.
Later, peeved MPs, including CPI’s D Raja, CPM’s Sitaram Yechury, SP’s Neeraj Shekhar and Congress’s Mallikarjun Kharge and K Rehman Khan, urged committee chairman Pradeep Bhattacharya (Congress) to raise the matter with the government.
This is not the first time that the standing committee has been miffed at the home secretary. Earlier, Mehrishi invited the panel’s wrath after failing to turn up despite being summoned.
MP Derek O’Brien said: “The home secretary didn’t come for two Parliamentary panel meetings. Today, he came for 30 minutes. Important issues like floods, Delhi Police and other sensitive incidents were to be discussed. Action taken reports were not submitted. Nothing was done…members objected. My colleague and I walked out.”
TMC had plans to raise the issues of Delhi Police’s run-ins with the Delhi government and the Kerala House raid under the “other issues” head.
While AAP spokesperson Raghav Chaddha said Mehrishi left the meeting as he was “not interested in discussing Delhi’s law order, breach of CM’s security”, some MPs present at the meeting disagreed.
“The issue at hand was Chennai floods. The home secretary left immediately after the presentations. That is what they were upset about. Delhi’s law and order or Kerala House beef raids were never to be discussed,” said a source present at the meeting.
While home ministry spokesman was not available for comment, Mehrishi did not respond to call or SMS.