'12 MPs from 8 parties ready to testify against Puri'

12 MPs from eight parties ready to testify against Hardeep Puri: TMC

Pur is accused of hurling abuses at and threatening its now suspended MP Dr Santanu inside Rajya Sabha

Union Minister Hardeep Puri. Credit: PTI Photo

Upping the ante against Petroleum Minister Hardeep Puri, whom they accuse of hurling abuses at and threatening its now suspended MP Dr Santunu Sen inside Rajya Sabha, Trinamool Congress has sought a probe into the incident and promised to depose 12 MPs from eight parties as witnesses in front of Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu.

The 12 MPs whom the Trinamool Congress has listed as witnesses include its bete noire CPI(M)'s Bikas Ranjan Bhattacharya and Elamarom Kareem, Congress' P Chidambaram, Digvijay Singh, Amee Yagni and Shakti Singh Gohil, Samajwadi Party's Ramgopal Yadav, DMK's Tiruchi Siva, Manoj K Jha (RJD), Vaiko (MDMK), B S Bhunder (Akali Dal) and Priyanka Chaturvedi (Shiv Sena).

Sources said Trinamool Congress Chief Whip Sukhendhu Shekhar Roy has written to the Chairman on July 27 in this regard as well as revoking the suspension of Sen, who was punished for snatching the statement on Pegasus issue from Information and Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and tearing it off in Rajya Sabha on July 22. Sen was suspended on July 23.

Puri could not be reached for his comments.

Also read: TMC MP Shantanu Sen accuses Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri of verbally abusing him in Rajya Sabha

According to Roy's letter, soon after the House was adjourned after the incident, Puri allegedly hurled abuses at Sen and aggressively advanced towards him. Roy claimed that the timely intervention of marshals prompted Puri to leave but did that only after threatening Sen with dire consequences.

Roy said in his complaint that the Chairman should order a thorough probe against Puri for his "abuses, heckling and causing mental suffering" to Sen and initiate appropriate action against him.

Referring to the incident, Naidu said in Rajya Sabha on July 23 just minutes before Sen's suspension that MPs should not lower the country's standing on the democratic world stage. He had described the action of Sen as Parliament hitting a "new low".

When Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha floor leader Derek O'Brien and Roy referred to the incident allegedly involving Puri, Naidu had said that it happened after the House was adjourned. However, sources later said that the Chairman would look into the issue if a formal complaint is made.

Sources said Naidu also told a group of Opposition MPs that there is no precedent of the Chairman taking cognizance of such incidents but he was willing to look into it provided there is a written complaint.