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Parliament disrupted over bugging allegations

Posted on Jul 30 2014 | IANS

New Delhi, July 30 : Parliament was disrupted Wednesday over demand for a debate on the reported bugging at union Minister Nitin Gadkari's Delhi residence, even while Home Minister Rajnath Singh denied it.

As soon as the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha met for the day, members from the Congress were on their feet demanding suspension of question hour to take up a debate on the issue.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh said there is "no truth" in the reports.

"I want to clarify that there is no truth in the media reports (about bugging at Nitin Gadkari's house)," Rajnath Singh said in a statement in both houses.

"Even the minister, at whose residence it was said that high power listening devices were installed, has himself called the reports as completely baseless...and there have been no complaints by the minister or anyone else in this regard," he added.

In the Rajya Sabha, the opposition, dissatisfied with the minister's reply, kept pressing for adjourning the question hour.

In the ruckus, the house was adjourned four times before 2 p.m.

Congress leader Anand Sharma said a thorough probe must be held.

"Government is allowing tapping of telephones on a large scale. It is a question of privacy. This is a serious matter... Here we are talking of bugging. Who has allowed it? Our demand is a thorough probe to unearth the truth. It has to be discussed in the house," Sharma said.

Congress members then raised slogans - "Modi model nahin chalega" and "We want JPC".

Congress leader Satyavrat Chaturvedi alleged that the government was "running away from a debate".

Responding to it, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said, "The minister concerned has denied the report... we are not running away from any discussion."

In the Lok Sabha, Leader of the Congress in the house Mallikarjun Kharge demanded a statement either by Prime Minister Narendra Modi or the home minister on the issue.

He said such bugging incidents had taken place in Gujarat also. He also wanted to know how many such bugging devices are planted inside the residences of ministers.

Media reports Sunday said bugging devices were found at Gadkari's Delhi residence. This was, however, denied by Gadkari.

Speaking to reporters outside parliament, Gadkari said the media reports are baseless.

"I have clearly told you that whatever you are writing and showing is totally false and baseless, and there is no truth in it. First, it was said that it was my Mumbai residence and now it is the Delhi residence (which is bugged) and there is no truth in it," Gadkari said.

The BJP leaders insisted it was a non-issue.

"The opposition is raising a non-issue out of desperation. The home minister has denied the report already," Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati said the bugging episode is a serious issue.

"The issue deserves to be discussed before probing. Bugging should be banned as anyone can be put under surveillance," said Mayawati.

The lower house also witnessed ruckus by Shiv Sena members over alleged police action against Marathi-speaking people in Belgaum district in Karnataka.

Showing photographs of those allegedly injured in the police action, and newspaper clippings, the Sena members demanded suspension of the question hour to discuss the issue.

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