Ranchi, March 28: Shifting stands of the Speaker on an adjournment motion led to an Opposition walkout from the Assembly today.
The chair, with Speaker Inder Singh Namdhari presiding, first offered to take it up after Question Hour but later suggested that the matter would be discussed after Zero Hour. Even later, he sought to disallow the motion on the ground that the issue was not important enough and, finally, argued that in view of the on-going CBI inquiry into the case, he could not allow a debate in the House.
At the centre of the controversy is a six-month-old report submitted by additional director-general of police V.D. Ram.
The report questioned the conduct of several public servants and senior officers, indicting some of them for their suspected nexus with the underworld and the coal mafia.
Vinod Singh, son of slain CPI-ML legislator Mahendra Singh and who has now taken his father's seat in the House, sought to move an adjournment motion for a special debate on the report. But he was repeatedly turned down.
The Speaker added fuel to the fire by declaring that only matters of utmost urgency could be taken up through adjournment motions. Since the assassination of Mahendra Singh had taken place over two months ago, he argued, the matter could be taken up for discussion some other time. The CPI-ML legislator reminded the chair that he was not pressing for a debate on the murder of his father. He was merely demanding a debate on the report.
The Speaker then ruled that since the CBI had already taken up the matter, it would not be proper to discuss it in the House since that could influence the investigation.
The legislator, accompanied by Dulal Bhuiyan of the JMM, then moved to the well of the House.
Threat of disciplinary action had little effect as Singh pointed out that the report was the property of the House and had been compiled at the behest of the House. The House, therefore, should have no problem in discussing the report, he argued.
When the chair once again turned down his demand for taking up the adjournment motion, Singh walked out, leaving the Opposition members to have a heated verbal exchange with the Speaker. They, too, then walked out in protest.