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Chair disallows referring tape issue to Ethics Committee

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    New Delhi, Feb 27: Rajya Sabha Chairman Bhairon Singh Shekhawat today (Feb 27, 2006) disallowed a vociferous demand from the Congress for referring the CD figuring Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh to the Ethics Committee when the issue was being adjudicated by Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court.

    Declining to refer the issue to the Ethics Committee, Mr Shekhawat said, "Home Minister Shivraj Patil has just now informed the House about the prosecution filing charge sheets in the phone tapping issue. We will be setting up a bad precedent if we refer the subjudice matter to the Ethics Committee and everyone of us will suffer." While the Congress members, including Government Chief Whip Narayanaswamy, trooped into the well of the House to submit a copy of the newspaper report revealing the contents of the alleged conversation between Mr Singh and a cine starlet, a Samajwadi Party MP presented before the House the CD that was circulated among the MPs.

    There were objections to the member submitting the CD to the House from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) benches and the Chair said the he had already ruled that tabling the CD was illegal. "I have taken the CD for myself and will go through the contents," he said urging the MPs not to get into the 'Chakravyuh.'

    Mr Patil making a statement on an issue raised by Mr Satish Mishra, Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP), said the Home Ministry had received a copy of the CD and the Delhi Police was going to handle the matter and all necessary things will be done. When the issue is subjudice, making allegations against a party or its leader will naturally result in counter allegations and hence everyone should avoid such tactics, he said.

    Leader of Opposition Jaswant Singh decried the tendency to take upon the work of admonishing the members. "We are not a Court but a legislation making body and the forum should not be used to arraign any member collectively," he said.

    Mr Sitaram Yechuri of Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) said possession of such CDs was illegal and said the House should ponder over the privacy issue of a citizen at a time when several telecom operators were in the fray.

    There was charged atmosphere with Mr Narayanaswamy and Mr Janardhan Poojari shouting on top of their voices and SP members trying to counter their statements.

    The Chair adjourned the House till 1400 hours when things became too rough and din prevailed in the House.

    UNI

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