Uproar in Rajya Sabha over govt intervention in CBI’s coal report

The Opposition demanded that Law Minister Ashwani Kumar should be summoned.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: April 23, 2013 3:08:56 am

In a stormy start to the second part of the budget session,the Rajya Sabha witnessed uproar on Monday as opposition members targeted the government on its interference in the CBI’s status report on the allocation of coal blocks,which was submitted to the Supreme Court last month.

While the government agreed to discuss the issue,the opposition demanded that Law Minister Ashwani Kumar should be summoned to the House and asked to explain his position on vetting and making changes to the CBI’s status report,as reported by The Indian Express. They sought suo motu statements from him as well as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the issue.

Much of the acrimony was centered around the rules for taking up a motion for adjournment of Question Hour to discuss the issue. Both Question Hour and Zero Hour passed without any business being transacted,as the House saw heated arguments on holding a debate on the interference in the CBI’s report,and putting the motion to vote in this regard. The House was adjourned thrice before lunch.

The motion moved by AIADMK member V Maitreyan to suspend Question Hour for a discussion on the issue was later rendered infructuous by Deputy Chairman P J Kurien,who said it had ended at 12 noon with Question Hour.

Chairman Hamid Ansari had admitted Maitreyan’s notice for moving the motion soon after the House assembled. He also put the motion to voice vote,but no division of vote could take place amid the din. “I am asking for peace. A motion has been moved. It is to be voted. Voting cannot take place in noise. Motion cannot be put to vote,” said Ansari,as BJP and AIADMK members rushed to the well of the House.

“Summon the Law Minister to the bar of the House. Ask Prime Minister to clarify the role of the PMO. They should be asked to appear before the House,” said Maitreyan.

“The government says it has nothing to hide. Let them tell us so far what is hidden. Let them come out with a suo motu statement on the Law Minister’s role at 2 pm. We will then ask for clarifications,” said Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said the government was ready for a discussion on the issue but it would be held after the discussion on atrocities on women.

“The government has said it is willing to discuss all the subjects. The only thing is that the Parliamentary Affairs Minister has to contact the Law Minister and ask him when he is ready to make a statement. The chair cannot direct,” said Kurien,while responding to the Opposition’s demand on a statement by the Law Minister.

Tiruchi Siva (DMK) and Ravi Shankar Prasad (BJP) also raised the issue of “leakage” of the JPC’s draft report on the 2G scam and wanted a discussion on it.

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