Venkaiah moots probe into sting operation

NEW DELHI: Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu spoke in favour of a probe into a sting operation in which leaders and MPs of the Trinamool Congress were seen accepting money from a fictitious private company in lieu of favours. Terming it “a matter of prestige” for Parliament, Mr. Naidu reacted to the rare sight of the BJP, the Congress and the Left parties attacking a common target, the Trinamool Congress.

“The prestige of Parliament is at stake. We have to establish the truth. Simply saying it is a conspiracy is not enough and will not satisfy the public,” Mr. Naidu said as members exchanged heated words on the issue. Either the government can carry out an inquiry or the Speaker can order one, he said.

CPI(M) MP Mohammad Salim raised the issue during Zero Hour and was followed by BJP’s S.S. Ahluwalia and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury of the Congress who slammed the Trinamool and sought a probe. They referred to the sting video purportedly showing several Trinamool leaders accepting money to help a fictitious private firm and demanded action against them, recalling that Parliament had expelled 11 members facing similar charges a few years ago. “We are ashamed that we are sitting with such people. They should drown in shame. The dignity of Parliament has been compromised by their conduct,” Mr. Salim said, demanding that a committee be formed to probe the charges.

“It is an embarrassment for our Parliament and democratic system. Five MPs have been shown accepting wads of money. The matter must be referred to the ethics committee,” Mr. Ahluwalia said.

Saugata Roy of the Trinamool, who was seen in the video, wondered under what rule the Speaker SumitraMahajan allowed members to raise the issue. “I had to live to see this day. It [sting] is part of political conspiracy before the West Bengal polls where the CPI (M), the Congress and the BJP are destined to lose,” he said.