MLAs caught ‘watching porn’,Speaker sees conspiracy

In assembly Vasava orders probe,calls media reports ‘breach of privilege’; BJP bats for its leaders.

Written by Express News Service | Gandhinagar | Published: March 22, 2012 4:25:54 am

in assembly Vasava orders probe,calls media reports ‘breach of privilege’; BJP bats for its leaders.

Speaker Ganpat Vasava on Wednesday ordered a probe by the Assembly’s privilege committee into media reports on two BJP MLAs reportedly watching obscene photographs on Tuesday even as House proceedings were on.

The probe,purported to be against the alleged porn-viewing,boomeranged on the mediapersons who reported the incident,as the Speaker blamed them for “intentionally defaming elected representatives” and interpreted the reports as a “breach of privilege” of the Assembly.

Embarrassed by reports in three leading language newspapers on Wednesday that BJP MLAs Shankar Chaudhary from Radhanpur in north Gujarat and Jethabhai Bharwad from Shehra in central Gujarat,were caught watching porn on Chaudhary’s iPad for 20 minutes in the House,the BJP not only went on the defensive,but also called this a “conspiracy against the Gujarat government”.

Chaudhary and Bharwad were reportedly caught surfing porn sites and looking at obscene photos on the former’s iPad between 12 noon and 12.50 am,when civil supplies and panchayat minister Narottam Patel was speaking on budget demands. The clips of the ministers engrossed in the iPad were grabbed by a journalist and circulated on Wednesday. Vasava said Chaudhary had requested to allow him an explanation under rule 45 of the Assembly,which he permitted.

“Today the news published in newspapers regarding this house’s honourable member Shankarbhai Chaudhary are very serious allegations and considering the explanations given by the member,I feel that certain elements are intentionally conspiring to malign and insult the house,” said the Speaker.

“I feel that by defaming the member,Shri Chaudhary,an attempt has been made to badly defame this honourable house intentionally,” Vasava added.

On the media,Vasava said,“In a parliamentary democracy,it cannot be tolerated that the media intentionally tries to defame people’s elected representatives and due to that the whole Assembly’s get discredited among the people and the Assembly cannot execute its constitutional duties. So,as per the constitutional right given under clause 194,it’s my duty to protect the pride of this house. Considering honourable Shankarbhai’s representation I feel this matter is breach of the house’s privilege and insult of the house. So under Assembly rule 253,I order the inquiry in this matter…”

As part of the inquiry,Chaudhary’s iPad will go to the forensic science laboratory for examination.

Coming out in support of Chaudhary,state BJP president R C Faldu said the allegation was “baseless”. “He was just watching points of his speech in the Assembly and discussing the Mansa (bypoll) results with his MLA colleague,” he said.

Earlier today when the Assembly convened,the Speaker suspended all the Congress MLAs for the entire day after they kicked up a row demanding suspension of both the MLAs.

The House was adjourned within two minutes of the ruckus.

Calling the investigation a farce,Leader of Opposition Shaktisinh Gohil told mediapersons that it was like the same authority playing police and thief. “Had the iPad been seized yesterday,we could have had hope of some justice. And the iPad has been given to the state government’s agency,Gujarat FSL,” said Gohil.

Congress party’s campaign committee chairman Shankersinh Vaghela said,“If the inquiry is not ordered on the Karnataka pattern,we will protest.”

Chaudhary,who is also general secretary of the state BJP,has been found guilty by the Gujarat High Court in a scam involving the PM’s relief fund for the post-quake rehabilitation work. Both Bharwad and Chaudhary are very close to Modi and were active in mobilising crowds for his Sadbhavana Mission fasts.

Last month,three BJP ministers in Karnataka were caught allegedly viewing pornographic clips in the Assembly.

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