Scams trigger stormy start to parliament winter session

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

NEW DELHI - The winter session of parliament Tuesday got off to a stormy start with opposition parties targeting the government over “scams after scams” and demanded a debate on the corruption allegations.

As soon as the session began at 11 a.m., opposition members refused to let the Question Hour proceed in the Lok Sabha and demanded a discussion on graft issues - on the Commonwealth Games, the Adarsh housing society scam, and the 2G spectrum allocation.

Speaker Meira Kumar pleaded with protesting members that any issue could be raised during the Zero Hour as Parliamentary Affairs Minister P.K. Bansal had agreed to allow them to do so under matters of urgent public importance.

Communist Party of India-Marxist leader (CPI-M) Basudeb Acharia, hitting out at the government, said: “Scandal after scandal is tumbling out since the United Progressive Alliance (UPA)-II came to power”.

We have corruption in the 2G spectrum allocation, then the Commonwealth Games and now the Adarsh cooperative housing society. The entire nation is ashamed of the housing scam as the land belonged to defence and the houses were meant for families of the Kargil martyrs, Acharia said.

He was referring to the controversial 31-storeyed residential block being built in Mumbai’s upscale Colaba that was originally meant to be a six-storeyed apartment block for housing Kargil war heroes and widows.

Those flats were given to relatives and kith and kin of some defence officers, even to some former army chiefs. How did it happen? How were all rules and regulations flouted? the CPI-M leader asked.

Acharia said the resignation of Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan on the issue is not enough.

Chavan Tuesday stepped down after the Congress leadership accepted his resignation following allegations of his association with the Adarsh housing society.

We should have a thorough probe and action should be taken against the guilty, and they should be punished for acts of omission and commission. The government should make a statement in the house on this large-scale corruption and nepotism, he said.

Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj also lambasted the government for the rampant corruption and demanded a debate in the house so that we can expose the government and corruption in its schemes.

There is scam after scam. Since UPA-II has come to power, we have had number of scandals. I of course want to raise the corruption in the 2G spectrum allocation, Adarsh housing scheme, and the Commonwealth Games. But believe me, the government’s road development programmes are also rocked by scams… That is a bigger scam than the 2G, Adarsh and CWG, she claimed.

Sharad Yadav of the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) demanded a joint parliamentary committee probe into the corruption allegations as the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) is an arm of the ruling elite and cannot be trusted for fairness.

Opposition members from time to time shouted slogans against the government, trying to create a ruckus as they were demanding adjournment of the proceedings to pave the way for a discussion on corruption.

The parliamentary affairs minister intervened in the meantime and assured that the government was ready to discuss any issue. He requested the speaker to take a decision on the matter when she finds it appropriate to have a debate.

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