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Congress moves motions against PM Modi

NEW DELHI: Upping the ante, the Congress on Tuesday moved Breach of Privilege notices against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha for alleging that an Italian court had linked its president Sonia Gandhi with the Agusta Westland helicopter scam.

Govt. hits back

The BJP-led government, however, refused to budge. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in the Rajya Sabha that the Prime Minister was “entitled to speak on corruption” both inside and outside the House and he could not be “gagged.”

Mr. Jaitley’s response came soon after senior Congress leader and a member of the Rajya Sabha, Shantaram Naik, said he had moved the Breach of Privilege motion against the Prime Minister.

In the Lok Sabha, senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily moved another motion that highlighted Mr. Modi’s speech at a recent public meeting in Kanyakumari. Quoting a newspaper report, Mr.Moily said Mr.Modi had directly linked Ms.Gandhi to the chopper scam and gone on to accuse UPA leaders of taking “money in the purchase of helicopters.”

“Modi has been further quoted in the [newspaper] report as having said, ‘we are not saying this… a court in Italy is saying this,’” Mr. Moily said in the motion. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar “did not say that UPA leaders had taken bribes in the purchase of helicopters and neither has the court in Italy, which gave a judgement on this issue recently, levelled any charge of the type made by the Prime Minister.

“No encouragement should be given to a Minister or Prime Minister to commit breach of privilege of the House.”

Moily’s request to Speaker

Mr. Moily requested the Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan that his notice be entertained and referred to the Privilege Committee, so that an “appropriate action is taken.”

The Speaker, however, said she would “consider it, but not now.”

At this, the Congress MPs disrupted the proceedings, shouting slogans such as “Prime Minister jawab do, jawab do [Prime Minister answer us].”