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Now opposition guns for Chidambaram, Lok Sabha disrupted

Friday April 27, 2012 03:55:26 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: Opposition Lok Sabha MPs Friday demanded the resignation of Home Minister P. Chidambaram who is alleged to have helped his son get financial benefits in a telecom deal when he was the finance minister in 2006.

Members created a ruckus, disrupting Lok Sabha twice till 2 p.m., even though the home minister was not present in the house.

As soon as members assembled in the morning, some Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) front benchers rose to protest, demanding Chidambaram's ouster.

"Chidambaram has indulged in massive corruption. He should be dismissed as home minister immediately," BJP leader Yashwant Sinha was heard shouting in the din.

Janata Dal-United (JD-U) chief Sharad Yadav and his party MPs soon joined the BJP members in anti-Chidambaram protests.

The opposition MPs cited Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy's allegations that Chidambaram had delayed permission for the sale of Aircel to Malaysia-based Maxis in 2006 when he was finance minister so that his son, Karthi, was financially benefitted.

Swamy told reporters Thursday that he had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking Chidambaram's resignation and directing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to include the minister and his son in the case already under probe on the Aircel-Maxis deal.

Former IT and communication minister Dayanidhi Maran is under the scanner for alleged irregularities in the deal.

Swamy alleged that Karthi's firm and Aircel had entered into a "dubious transaction" in March 2006, just before Maxis's investment of Rs.4,000 crore into the telecom company.

He said the then finance minister had ensured that the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance on Aircel-Maxis deal be given only after Karthi's company got a share in Aircel.

The Swamy allegations gave fresh ammunition to opposition guns who had in the first two days of the reconvened budget session put the government on the mat for alleged payoffs in the Bofors artillery deal of 1986.

Some BJP MPs staged protests near Speaker Meira Kumar's podium and disrupted the crucial question hour.

The speaker first tried to restore peace in the house asking protesting MPs to go back to their seats. When they didn't relent, she tried to ignore them by allowing the question hour to continue that went for about half an hour till 11.30 a.m.

But the MPs intensified their protests forcing Meira Kumar to adjourn the house till noon.

Pandemonium returned when the house resumed at 12. Amid noisy protests, the speaker allowed some business documents to be laid down in the house before adjourning the house till 2 p.m.



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