Parliament rocked over Liberhan report leakage

Parliament rocked over Liberhan report leakage


It was trouble from the word go in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in the wake of a newspaper report about the findings of the Commission that top BJP leaders including Atal Bihari Vajpayee, L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi have reportedly been indicted by it.

Both the houses saw opposition members, including BJP, SP and Left attacking the Government over the leakage which they alleged amounted to breach of privilege of the House.

"The official sources of the Government have deliberately leaked it to divide the opposition unity witnessed over the issue of sugarcane pricing," Deputy Leader of BJP Sushma Swaraj said in the Lok Sabha.

The Commission headed by Justice M S Liberhan was set up 10 days after the demolition of the 16th century Babri Masjid in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992.
Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha L K Advani expressed shock over the reported indictment of Vajpayee in the report as published in a newspaper.

Home Minister P Chidambaram's assurance in both Houses that the report along with an Action Taken Report would be tabled in this session itself failed to pacify the agitated members.

Both the Houses were adjourned for the day without transacting any business after two adjournments.

The Winter Session of Parliament has failed to conduct any business since the month-long session began on November 19 as it was adjourned over the controversial Sugar Control Ordinance for two days and on Liberhan issue today.

The agitated BJP members stormed the well and shouted slogans in both the Houses for immediate tabling of the report and that they would not tolerate the "tarnishing" the image of Vajpayee.

In the Rajya Sabha, the entire opposition said there was a breach of privilege as the report was leaked when the House was in session.

The Liberhan Commission report was submitted to the Government on June 30 and it is required to table it in both the Houses along with the ATR within six months.

"I must be a very foolish man to leak it and embarrass myself," Chidambaram said in the Rajya Sabha asserting that the only copy of the report with the government was in his custody and no one from his Ministry has spoken to any journalist.

In the Lok Sabha, he said, "I refrain from commenting on the correctness or otherwise of the contents of the news story".

Chidambaram said it is unfortunate that a newspaper has published "what purported to be the contents of the report".

In the Rajya Sabha, Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley said he has no reason to disbelieve the Home Minister that the report was not leaked at his end.

Noting that the only other copy was with the Commission, Jaitley said it meant the leak has taken place at the Commission's end and then it is a breach of privilege.

Other than the BJP, leaders from Samajwadi Party, BSP and CPI-M demanded an explanation from the government on how the report was leaked to the media and said it should be tabled in Parliament at the earliest.

Advani said the demolition of the Masjid was the "saddest day of my life" but "personally, I am proud of my involvement with the Ayodhya movement".
"I want a grand Ram Temple be built there", he said.

Reacting to Advani's statement, SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav said in Lok Sabha that if the BJP leader was proud of his association with the Ayodhya Movement, he was proud that he fought them (BJP) and protected the mosque.

CPI-M member Sitaram Yechury asked the Home Minister in Rajya Sabha to ensure that cell-phones of officials at their work places should be jammed when such sensitive reports or ATR is being prepared.

D Raja (CPI) said the leakage has lowered the dignity of the House and it needed to be probed.

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