NEW DELHI: Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on Wednesday ordered a probe by the House Ethics Committee into the sting operation, which showed TMC MPs accepting bribes from a private company. The 15-member panel is headed by senior BJP leader LK Advani. The Speaker termed the matter “very serious” and observed that the allegations impacted the “very credibility of Parliament”.
The BJP, CPI(M)and the Congress had come together in both the Houses on Tuesday to attack the TMC members.
A similar probe by a parliamentary committee in the Lok Sabha and ethics committee in the Rajya Sabha was ordered after the cash-for-query scandal came to light in 2005. In the recent sting, five TMC MPs appear to be accepting money from representatives of a fictitious firm in a news portal’s sting.
TMC MP Saugata Roy termed the Speaker’s decision one-sided. “If it becomes a practice, then anybody will do a sting against members and an inquiry would be ordered on such unverified contents,” he said . Roy said he had great respect for Advani and hoped he would be fair.
The issue triggered an uproar in the Rajya Sabha with CPI(M) members demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe. Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien said he could not give his ruling on the matter as there was no unanimity in the House. He , however, allowed TMC’s Derek O’Brien and CPM’s Sitaram Yechury to speak on the issue.
O’Brien questioned the authenticity of the video while Yechury demanded an investigation. “Why is the government not ordering an investigation? It looks like they are also complicit...,” he said.