New Delhi, March 18 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Friday said it will move a privilege motion against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for misleading parliament on the report of a committee which probed the cash-for-vote scandal.
“The BJP will move a privilege motion against the PM for misleading the house on the contents of the committee report,” Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said in a press conference.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday in his statement to the two houses said that the cash-for-vote scandal was investigated by a committee appointed by the 14th Lok Sabha which “had concluded that there was insufficient evidence to draw any conclusion of bribery”.
Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, speaking in the same press conference, said: “The PM’s statement is totally invariant with the findings of the committee. Committee found that (Sanjeev) Saxena was the bribe giver and that further probe needs to be done about his role. Last two years, no progress has been made.”
Amar Singh’s aide Saxena was caught on camera giving money to a BJP MP in 2008 ahead of a crucial trust vote in 2008.
The parliamentary inquiry eventually did not indict anyone. A committee headed by MP Kishore Chandra Deo probed the scandal.
Sushma Swaraj also attacked prime minister for making the statement at the India Today conclave in the national capital calling it a contempt of parliament.
“Prime Minister making a statement in the India Today Conclave is a contempt of parliament,” she said.
Jaitely said: “The Opposition is being gagged by the chair not allowing us to seek clarification on PM’s statement on the WikiLeaks.”
He also said that the example cited by the Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Hamid Ansari referred to (ruling no 173, 24 April, 1987) was in relation to the Bofors case and a debate took place after two days.
“Since no discussion is scheduled, we have right to clarification,” he said.
“I am constrained to say we were denied our right to ask queries because no answers could be given. Is it not a dereliction of duty on PM’s part not to have ordered for further probe in the case?” he added.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, however, told reporters outside parliament that if the opposition wants, the government welcomes a debate.
“We would welcome a structured debate on the cash-for-vote issue if the opposition demands it,” Bansal said.
The WikiLeaks diplomatic cables published by The Hindu newspaper Thursday quoted a political aide of Congress leader Satish Sharma as saying that a fund of Rs.50 crore had been formed to pay MPs for the confidence vote in 2008.
A US embassy official was apparently shown two chests of cash in the political aide’s house, kept for the payoffs.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his statement to the two houses, however, denied all charges.