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Tainted ministers’ issue rocks Parliament
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 16
The tainted ministers’ issue resurfaced in Parliament today as both Houses met for the first time after a three-week recess, with Opposition members in the Rajya Sabha creating a pandemonium and later walking out as the Chairman refused to allow discussion on the issue.

Soon after Question Hour in the upper House, Opposition members led by BJP leader Ravishankar Prasad were up on their feet to raise the issue of the withdrawal of a criminal case against Union Minister Taslimuddin by the Bihar Government.

But Chairman Bhairon Singh Shekhawat disallowed members from raising the issue, saying he was yet to apply his mind on the notice given by them and that other listed business be taken up.

Deputy Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj pointed out that as per convention matters of public importance could be raised during zero hour and such issues got precedence over other listed business.

To this, the Chairman said there was no zero hour in the Rajya Sabha even though at times the Chair gave permission to members to raise issues.

This sparked uproarious scenes and the Opposition staged a walkout after half an hour of procedural wrangling.

Raising the issue during zero hour in the Lok Sabha, BJP member Sushil Kumar Modi demanded the dismissal of Mr Taslimuddin from the ministry and wanted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to explain the circumstances that forced him to appoint him minister.

Referring to the Prime Minister’s Independence Day speech in which he talked about a code of conduct and practices, Mr Modi wanted to know whether he was aware of the Intelligence Bureau report about Mr Taslimuddin before he inducted him in the ministry.

An arrest warrant was pending against Mr Taslimuddin when he was appointed minister, Mr Modi alleged.

He said RJD leader Taslimuddin had even kept the Election Commission in the dark about the criminal cases he was facing.

The state government had decided to withdraw the criminal case against Mr Taslimuddin after a high-level meeting at the residence of Chief Minister Rabri Devi last week, the BJP member said, alleging “this is nothing but blatant and naked misuse of state power... the state government cannot do it.”

The Speaker, he suggested, should get Mr Taslimuddin dismissed from the government.

RJD member Raghunath Jha defended Mr Taslimuddin and recalled that senior BJP leaders L. K. Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi had continued as ministers even after they were charge-sheeted in the Babri Masjid demolition case.
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SAD boycotts Tytler
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 16
Members of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today staged a walk-out in the Lok Sabha as Minister for Non-Resident Affairs Jagdish Tytler stood up to speak in the House.

SAD leader Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa said as per the decision of the party they were staging a walk-out even as a visibly upset Mr Tytler said the walk-out was politically motivated.

The minister said his name did not figure in any FIR or police record and no case was pending against him in any court.
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Hearing put off

Patna, August 16
The hearing on the Bihar Government’s plea for the withdrawal of a criminal case against Union Minister of State for Food and Civil Supplies Mohammed Taslimuddin could not be taken up today as the magistrate took leave as he was indisposed.

The hearing is likely resume in a day or two, according to sources. — PTI
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