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Phone tapping, IPL scandals rock Parliament

Source: PTI
Last updated on: April 26, 2010 14:54 IST
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Reports of telephone tapping and the IPL controversy rocked Parliament on Monday with both Houses adjourning for the day as an agitated opposition demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the two issues.

The opposition members were not satisfied with Home Minister P Chidambaram's statement rubbishing the charge that it had authorised any telephone tapping of politicians and alleged that the issue smacked of the 1975 Emergency days.

While the BJP in both the Houses went hammer and tongs against the government on the phone tapping issue, the SP and RJD focussed on the IPL issue with Lalu Prasad and Mulayam Singh Yadav personally leading their party members into the well of the Lok Sabha.

Members of the BSP, which is cosying up to the government ahead of the crucial cut motions, were conspicuously silent during these protests.

Making a statement on the tapping issue in both the Houses, Chidambaram said, "I wish to state categorically that no telephone tapping or eavesdropping on political leaders was authorised by the previous UPA government. Nor has the present UPA government authorised any such activity."

He said the report in Outlook magazine on phone tapping was thoroughly enquired into and "nothing has been found in the records of the NTRO (National Technical Research Organisation) to substantiate the allegations."

Demanding a statement from the Prime Minister, senior BJP leader L K Advani recalled a press conference held on June 25, 1985 to mark 10 years of Emergency in which Atal Bihari Vajpayee spoke about phone tapping of leaders like Chandrashekhar, Jagjivan Ram, Charan Singh and journalists like Kuldeep Nayyar and Arun Shourie.

He also demanded passing of a law to prevent the government from tapping phones of political leaders.

In the Rajya Sabha too, BJP vociferously demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee enquiry, with senior leader M Venkaiah Naidu seeking a statement from the Prime Minister.

Both Houses, which had earlier adjourned twice on the issue with repeated protests by the opposition parties, were adjourned for the day as the protests continued.

SP and RJD members trooped into the well of Lok Sabha seeking a JPC probe into the IPL controversy. "This is the biggest scandal in the recent years," the RJD chief remarked.

The Home Minister, who read out the statement on phone tapping amid continued slogan-shouting, said, "Further enquiries are being made into the allegations in the magazine. If any evidence is forthcoming or discovered, the matter will be thoroughly investigated by the appropriate agencies".

He read out a similar statement in Rajya Sabha.

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