Guwahati, March 22: The MLAs’ phone-tap case took a new turn today with the five “tapped” legislators all but requesting Speaker Pranab Gogoi to take over the probe from the committee of privileges.
The twist came after the legislators arrived to appear before the panel in room 36 on the Assembly premises much before the appointed time of 1pm only to be told by officials that the meeting had got over at noon itself.
If that was not enough, TV reports said the case had been dropped.
Taken aback by the development, the five lawmakers moved the Speaker at 2.50pm with a strongly worded application highlighting how the committee had let them down.
They also requested Gogoi to look into the issue and order an appropriate inquiry into why the meeting got over before schedule.
Jayanta Malla Baruah from Nalbari, one of the aggrieved legislators, told this correspondent that the development was both baffling and fishy.
“The honourable Speaker has assured us to look into the matter and take appropriate action,” he said.
Bhimananda Tanti, deputy Speaker and chairman of the 13-member committee of privileges, attributed the development to a “communication gap” but said the panel had decided to close the case because forest minister Rakibul Hussain had told the Assembly on March 6 that the reports were baseless.
“Since the government has already responded to the development, the committee felt there was no need to proceed. However, we will re-examine the matter if the Speaker so desires. It was not intentional on our part to close the case,” Tanti said.
The other four aggrieved legislators are Pallav Lochan Das (Behali), parliamentary secretary Rekibuddin Ahmed (Chaygaon), Assam Youth Congress president Pijush Hazarika (Raha) and Rajen Borthakur (Tezpur).
The five legislators had moved the Speaker on March 5 following reports of their phones being tapped.
They are said to be close to health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who is allegedly leading the camp trying to oust chief minister Tarun Gogoi.