CPI(M) gen secy Yechury wants Rajya Sabha Ethics panel to take up morphed picture, sting issues

New Delhi: CPI(M) on Monday sought the intervention of a parliamentary panel into the issues of use of a morphed picture showing Home Minister Rajnath Singh offering sweets to former party chief Prakash Karat and bribery charges against a Trinammol Congress Rajya Sabha MP as allegedly brought out by a sting operation.

The issues, which have kicked up a row in West Bengal with Trinamool Congress being at the receiving end, were raised at a meeting of the Rajya Sabha Committee on Ethics headed by Congress veteran Karan Singh on Monday.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, who is a member of the Rajya Sabha Ethics Committee, drew the Chairman's attention to the issue of the morphed picture being used by TMC MP and its national spokesperson Derek O'Brien apparently to show ties between BJP and CPI(M).

Both CPI(M) and BJP have filed complaints in this regard.

CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury. AFP

CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury. AFP

"I raised the issue of morphed picture which involved a Rajya Sabha MP (O'Brien)," Yechury said after a meeting of the panel.

Following a press conference by O'Brien in Kolkata, TMC had on Saturday posted two videos and six pictures on the party's website. The party, however, removed the morphed picture from its website after a controversy erupted.

Yechury also urged the Chairman to write to Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari on the issue of Narada sting, noting that while Lok Sabha has referred the matter to its Ethics Committee, it was not done by Rajya Sabha.

"There cannot be two yardsticks. The yardstick applied by Lok Sabha should also apply in case of Rajya Sabha. I had raised the issue in the Upper House earlier as well," he said.

In the purported sting telecast last month, five TMC members from Lok Sabha -- Saugata Roy, Sultan Ahmad, Suvendu Adhikari, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar and Prasoon Banerjee -- were were shown allegedly accepting money from people representing a fictitious firm.

Trinamool Rajya Sabha MP Mukul Roy was purportedly shown asking the representative of the fictitious firm to hand over cash to another person.

CPI(M) and Congress have alleged that BJP is silent on referring the Narada sting issue to the Ethics Committee of Rajya Sabha as it wants to garner TMC's support in the passage of key bills in Rajya Sabha where NDA lacks majority.

BJP, however, claimed that it was Congress and the Left who helped Trinamool Congress "hush" up the Narada scandal.

On March 16, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan had said that the bribery charges against TMC members would be probed by Lok Sabha's Committee on Ethics, adding that the "very serious" allegations impacted the "very credibility of Parliament".

The Ethics Committee of Lok Sabha, headed by L K Advani, had on April 14 sought an explanation from the five Trinamool Congress MPs.

The panel had earlier asked news portal Narada News, which had released video tapes of the sting, about the source of the clips and whether it stood by the sting operation.

While the matter saw BJP, Congress and Left making a common cause in Parliament and outside to target TMC on the issue, the Mamata Banerjee-led party has been maintaining that the charges were part of a political conspiracy ahead of the West Bengal polls.

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Updated Date: Apr 25, 2016 22:58:09 IST

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