BJP walks out of Himachal assembly over attachment of CM’s property

Shimla, March 28 (IANS) The opposition BJP on Monday created a ruckus and walked out of the Himachal Pradesh assembly over the freezing of Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh’s assets by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case.

As the house re-assembled after a nine-day break, former minister and Bharatiya Janata Party member Rajiv Bindal asked Speaker Brij Behari Lal Butail about his notice for an adjournment motion, seeking discussion on the proceedings against the chief minister.

The speaker said he had rejected the notice as the matter was sub judice.

At this, Bindal said the matter was in the public domain and requested the speaker to allow the discussion on an important issue.

Citing rules, the speaker said the adjournment motion on an issue pending before any statutory body, commission of inquiry or court shall ordinarily not be permitted in the house.

Leader of Opposition Prem Kumar Dhumal said the situation was extraordinary as the ED had attached the property of the chief minister and hence the speaker could allow it.

Dhumal said Virbhadra Singh had been speaking on the issue in public and accusing the BJP for the action against him. “Then why can’t the house discuss it,” he asked.

The speaker said that the law would take its own course and added that the ED was a statutory body.

This infuriated the BJP members, who said the ED was an investigating agency.

“ED is not a judicial body. Any matter being probed by the police, the Central Bureau of Investigation or any other investigating agency can be discussed in the assembly,” BJP member Suresh Bhardwaj said.

The speaker rejected the demand for the adjournment motion and said the ED was a statutory body and he could not allow the discussion on the issue.

Later, the BJP members walked out of the assembly.

Official sources said assets worth over Rs.7 crore in New Delhi were attached by the ED in the money laundering case.

The ED filed the case against the Congress leader under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act after taking cognizance of a criminal complaint filed by the CBI.

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