The Samajwadi Party, which alleged a conflict of interest in BJP MP and beedi baron Shyam Charan Gupta being a member of the committee looking into the rules regarding tobacco sales, is in for an embarrassment because one of its MPs, who heads fertiliser company Kribhco and sits in the parliamentary standing committee on chemicals and fertilisers, may get removed from the panel for the same reason.
Rajya Sabha member Dr Chandrapal Singh Yadav, who was earlier Kribhco vice-chairman, was included as a member of the standing committee on January 29 this year. A fortnight later, he was elected Kribhco chairman.
Kribhco or Krishak Bharati Cooperative Ltd is a multi-state cooperative society out. The central government, which was its member through the department of fertilisers, exited the company in July 2013 after its equity holding was “reduced to nil”.
The committee that Yadav sits in recommends on sensitive issues such as pricing, subsidy, demand, production, imports, incentives, investments and movement for the entire gamut of fertilisers.
Sources said that until last week, neither Yadav, who has been Kribhco chairman off and on since 1996, nor standing committee chairman Anandrao Adsul had informed Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan of the Kribhco appointment.
Yadav claims he informed Adsul in the first committee meeting he attended last month and that he also shot off a letter to the Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha but could not remember when he wrote it.
Under rule 52A of the directions by the Speaker Lok Sabha: “Where a member of a committee has a personal, pecuniary or direct interest in any matter which is to be considered by the committee, he shall state his interest therein to the Speaker through the chairman of the committee.”
The standing committee on chemicals and fertilisers is a Lok Sabha committee and, hence, the information has to be sent to the Speaker.
Yadav says he has “no personal interest in the company” which is held by state marketing federations and banks, and cooperative members.
Adopting a hands-off policy after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent direction to remove MPs with “conflicting interests”, Adsul said that he had conveyed to a ministry official that Yadav could not continue in the committee.
“I came to know about it (Yadav being Kribhco Chairman) at the last meeting. I told the joint secretary associated with our committee that he (Yadav) can’t be a member of the committee. There is a procedure. I will be writing to Speaker for his removal. Speaker will have to take cognizance. We will definitely have to get it (removal) done,” Adsul said over phone.
Sources said Mahajan would soon order a review of all parliamentary panels to check the business interests of members of parliament.