BJP may move privilege motion against Baalu

April 27th, 2008 - 9:31 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, April 27 (IANS) The main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is planning a privilege motion in the Lok Sabha Monday against Shipping, Road Transport and Highways Minister T.R. Baalu for allegedly abusing his position to benefit firms owned by his family. “The party is seriously contemplating to move a privilege motion against Baalu. A decision will be taken in a meeting of the party leaders Monday morning ,” BJP’s deputy leader in the Lok Sabha Vijay Kumar Malhotra told IANS.

He said Baalu had admitted in the Rajya Sabha of “using his office” to seek the help of Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to expedite the clearance of some projects run by his family members.

“It is a serious matter. The minister has abused the privileges and rights he enjoys being the member of the Lok Sabha for the benefits of his relatives. It is an obvious case of breach of the house’s privileges,” Malhotra said.

The issue has been rocking both the houses of parliament since last Wednesday when Baalu admitted in the upper house to have “put in a word” to the petroleum and natural gas ministry for allocating gas to the firms run by his family members and other close relatives.

The BJP-led opposition in the Rajya Sabha Friday claimed that the PMO, too, had written eight letters between November 2007 and February 2008 to the ministry. The opposition also sought Baalu’s resignation.

The Rajya Sabha witnessed several disruptions Thursday leading to adjournments. AIDMK member V. Maitreyan even sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s response on the matter.

“Given the gravity of the matter, we hope the speaker will grant the permission (to move the motion against Baalu),” Malhotra said.

Baalu, a DMK member from the Chennai South constituency, had alleged that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government had stopped gas supply to the companies of his family members after his party withdrew support to that regime.

The BJP dismissed the allegation.

“Let the petroleum and natural gas ministry come out with details as to why the gas supply was stopped to Baalu’s companies and why his firms had their contracts cancelled,” Malhotra said.

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