The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Legislator debut for hall of shame

Lucknow, Aug. 30: For the first time in the legislative history of Uttar Pradesh, an MLA has been declared an absconder with a prize of Rs 2,500 on his head.

The issue rocked the Assembly with an angry Opposition demanding a crime branch-CID probe into the FIR against Congress MLA Akhilesh Singh, an accused in the murder of one Rakesh Pandey, and the “absconder” tag on him.

Opposition members urged the Speaker to intervene and direct the Bahujan Samaj Party-BJP government led by Mayavati not to create “history”. “Today, it is Akhilesh Singh. Tomorrow, it can be any other member. Today, the BJP-BSP coalition is ruling. Tomorrow, the Samajwadi Party or any other party may be in power,” they said.

Cutting across party lines, Opposition members descended on the well of the House after chief minister Mayavati rejected the demand for the crime branch-CID inquiry. Speaker Kesari Nath Tripathi had little option but to adjourn the House.

Affirming her faith in the capability of her police force, which is investigating the case, the chief minister said the police are trying to arrest him on court orders. She tried to convince the Opposition that there was no politics involved in declaring the Congress MLA an absconder.

When the House assembled in the morning, a united Opposition demanded a debate on the issue. The Speaker’s assurance that he would take it up after question hour fell on deaf ears. As the Opposition kept insisting on a debate, he adjourned the House for two-and-half hours.

When the House reassembled at 2 pm, Congress Legislature Party leader Pramod Tiwari said while the five policemen provided to Singh claimed he was in Lucknow during the incident, Rae Bareilly police said Singh was at the murder spot there.

Even the named FIR was lodged after nine hours, he pointed out.

Tiwari said, in view of the varying police versions, a crime branch-CID inquiry was necessary. He urged the Speaker to convert the House into a court and summon the Rae Bareilly senior superintendent of police, who had declared Singh an “absconder”.

Ram Naresh Yadav, Jagdambika Pal and Ambika Chowdhary of the Congress and Azam Khan and Ram Govind Chowdhary of the Samajwadi echoed Tiwari.

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