The Telegraph
Thursday , July 31 , 2014
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Opposition wants judicial probe, PM’s statement on Gadkari bugging issue

New Delhi, Jul 31 (PTI): The Opposition led by Congress on Thursday continued its assault on the government over reports that Union minister Nitin Gadkari’s residence was bugged, and pressed for a judicial probe.

It also sought a statement from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the matter which, they said, has put the Bharatiya Janata Party led National Democratic Alliance’s credibility at stake.

There were sharp exchanges between the opposition members and the treasury benches over the issue, with the opposition adamant on a debate saying it is a breach of privilege over which the government can even be dismissed.

”When Ministers', MPs' phones are tapped, secrecy is breached. People's faith in the Council of Ministers has been shaken. To help restore that faith, constitute a judicial committee to probe the matter,” Congress member Pramod Tiwari said, raising a point of order.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venakaih Naidu, however, dismissed the demand saying, “I have to set the record straight. There is no need of a inquiry without any substantive reason.”

Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien had a tough time in maintaining order in the House, as members kept raising points of order with the purpose of pressing for a discussion.

The Upper House saw three adjournments - two in the Question Hour and another in the Zero Hour - and no business could be taken up during the pre-lunch sitting for the second day in succession except laying of papers.

The Chair ruled that there was no point of order as Home Minister Rajnath Singh has already stated that there is no truth in the allegations of bugging.

”As far as Chair is concerned, available material is only the statement of the Home Minister. I am unable to find any substantial material to prove that (bugging). Therefore, I cannot allow the question of privilege. The Chair cannot go by newspaper reports. It has to go by facts,” Kurien said while refusing a point of order raised by opposition members.