The Opposition Congress on Monday accused the central government of misusing the ED and CBI against the Chief Ministers belonging to non-BJP parties, forcing two adjournments of Rajya Sabha proceedings in the pre-noon session over the issue.
The Congress members sought suspension of business to discuss the alleged "unleashing" of Enforcement Directorate and CBI against Chief Ministers and former Chief Ministers belonging to opposition parties and the enforcement agencies turning a blind eye to alleged "nepotism", "corruption" and "money laundering" by their BJP counterparts. But when their notices under rule 267 was disallowed, Congress members trooped into the Well of the House raising slogans.
Deputy Chairman P J Kurien first adjourned the proceedings for 10 minutes. But when House reassembled and similar unruly scenes were witnessed again, he was forced to adjourn the proceedings for another five minutes.
When the House met for the day, Anand Sharma (Cong) said bonafide decisions are taken by elected Chief Ministers and the state governments for allotment of land and there is no state which is exception to this rule.
Without naming anyone, he said the central government, in "blatant" abuse of authority, was using ED to target former Chief Ministers belonging to the opposition parties and FIRs are being registered against them.
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His reference was apparently to the attachment of properties belonging to Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and ED summoning him in connection with an alleged money-laundering case.
"Government is protecting the wrong-doings of its own Chief Ministers" who face accusations of "money laundering, nepotism and corruption," Sharma said. In states like Madhya Pradesh, land allotted for a newspaper has been converted for commercial use, while in Haryana, land has been alloted to a commercial organisation Patanjali, he alleged, saying change of land use was being allowed in BJP-ruled states.
"CBI, ED is being used for political vendetta," he charged. "They cannot have two sets of rules and laws" for opposition ruled states and the BJP-ruled ones. He said BJP-ruled states face serious cases of "nepotism, corruption and money laundering".
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As Kurien said the notice on the issue was not permitted, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad also alleged that the CBI and the ED were being unleashed against non-BJP chief ministers.
He said the "wrong-doings" of BJP Chief Ministers were being ignored while enforcement agencies were being "let loose against opposition Chief Ministers." Kurien said the wrong doings of Chief Minister have to be discussed in the respective state assemblies but not in Parliament.
Dissatisfied, Congress members trooped into the Well of the House and shouted slogans. "You cannot force me by coming to the Well and shouting," Kurien said. "Even if you come and shout here, I am not going to be cowed down by that. I am not going to allow (notice under rule 267)."
He asked members to go back to their seats saying there were 11 zero hour notices that he has received. As members were unrelenting, he adjourned the proceedings for 10 minutes. When the House met again, similar scenes were witnessed. Kurien said once he has said notice under rule 267 is not allowed, discussion will not be allowed.
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Sharma however said the land given to newspapers in BJP-ruled states was being converted into commercial complexes. Amid slogan-shouting by Congress members in the Well, Kurien called Sambhaji Shahu Chhatrapati (Nominated) to make his Zero Hour submission. In the din, he raised the issue of pollution of Ganga river.
Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation said Rs 20,000 crore has been provided through a non-lapsable fund. As much as Rs 13,000 crore has been provided for new projects like sewage treatment plants, industrial effluent treatment plants and crematorium. "We will complete the projects on time," she said amidst the din. Kurien then went on to call other members who had given Zero Hour notices but the din continued.
"I have got 11 notices with me. I am seeing majority of members are sitting and a handful of members are holding the House to ransom," he said. As members like Tapan Sen (CPI-M) refused to make their Zero Hour submission in the din, Kurien said he was not to be blamed for it. "I am not responsible. If members are not behaving, Chair is not responsible," he said before adjourning the proceedings for the second time for 5 minutes.