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Sub-judice’ House war

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 19: An adjournment motion by the Congress in the Odisha Assembly for a discussion on the alleged Rs 4-lakh crore scam in setting up ports without inviting tenders was not allowed by Speaker Pradip Amat on the plea that the matter was sub-judice.

Not satisfied with the ruling, the principal Opposition party alleged that the government was “scared of being exposed on the floor of the House and that was the reason the motion was not taken up”.

Congress leader Prasad Harichandan said: “It has never happened in the history of the Assembly that after a motion was admitted, it was dropped because the matter was pending in the court.”

The allegation was that the government had signed MoUs with various agencies without inviting bids. For this, the state government has come under severe criticism from the comptroller and auditor general (CAG) in its latest report, which was placed in the Assembly this week.

Today, the Speaker read out the names of signatories to the adjournment motion and called commerce and transport minister Subrat Tarai to give his preliminary statement on the motion.

The minister wanted a ruling from the Speaker as to whether it would be appropriate on the part of the House to discuss a motion when the matter was sub-judice.

Harichandan contested Tarai’s contention and said: “There are several instances when discussions were held on issues despite their being sub-judice.”

BJD MLA Amar Satpathy, on the other hand, said that as the matter had come to the knowledge of the House, it should not be discussed. Hearing both parties, the Speaker disallowed the adjournment motion.