RS disrupted over demands for Gadkari’s resignation
Rajya Sabha proceedings were disrupted by repeated adjournments on Friday following uproar by Congress, demanding the resignation of Union Minister Nitin Gadkari following a CAG report alleging irregularities involving loan extended to his family-linked Purti group. Slogan-shouting Congress members trooped into the Well demanding Gadkari's resignation, forcing Deputy Chairman P J Kurien to first adjourn the House for 10 minutes and then again till 1200 hours.
As soon as the Question Hour began at noon, the Congress members came into the aisle raising slogans, this time seeking the arrest of Gadkari. This forced the Chair to adjourn the House twice again in quick succession till 1235 hours.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Shantaram Naik (Cong) said CAG in a report last week had stated that Purti Sakhar Karkhana Limited (PSKL) ? a bagasse based co-generation project of the Purti Group in which Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Gadkari was once a board member ? did not meet conditions for availing interest subsidy from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
He said CAG has found that PSKL did not comply with the conditions for interest subsidy which stipulated that the renewable energy project was to operate for a minimum of 10 years after its completion.
The project, which was to be commissioned in February 2004, but finally commissioned in March 2007, in June 2009 over to 100 per cent coal-based operation as against up to 25 per cent allowed in the subsidy scheme, he said and demanded that "Gadkari has to resign."
Anand Sharma (Cong) said it was a very serious issue which cannot be confined to zero hour. "There has to be accountability."
Kurien asked members not to obstruct Zero Hour business of others and said there was no scope for discussion.
"During Zero Hour, you cannot make an allegation against any member... For making allegation, there is rule," he said and added "if any name is mentioned, I am expunging it."
He asked Congress members, who had moved into the aisles, to return to their seats. "For making allegations against members or ministers, there is rule. Do that. I am not allowing."
But unrelenting members moved into the Well shouting slogans demanding Gadkari's resignation. "This is indiscipline. This behaviour is unbecoming of members of parliament," he said before adjourning the House for 10 minutes.
Noisy scenes continued as the House re-assembled with Congress members again on their feet.
Purti group says it never defaulted on IREDA loan
Purti group on Friday said it has not defaulted on loans from state-run IREDA and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari was never involved in its day-to-day operations, as Opposition demanded the Minister's resignation over CAG flagging this issue. "We have not defaulted on repaying the loan or indulged in any misutilisation or misappropriation of the amount. The audit report is on lapses or irregularities in procedures followed by IREDA," Purti Sakhar Karkhana Ltd (PSKL) Managing Director Sudhir Dive told reporters here. The report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) mentions that in April last year IREDA management had informed the CAG that PSKL settled its entire loan outstanding as per OTS norms, he added.