Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar on Tuesday accused Congress of trying to divert attention from recent revelations in the Bofors deal by creating ruckus in parliament, while stressing that the government is ready for debate on any issue, including lynching.
“We are not able to understand what the Congress wants. We have said on record we are ready for debate on all topics from agriculture to alleged atrocities in which lynchings, and violence will be covered.
“The Speaker (Sumitra Mahajan) is saying the same thing, they must give a notice… But we think after Bofors revelations by (Swedish police officer Sten) Lindstrom they have gone on backfoot and are scared. The only way left is to face the enquiry and come out clean… they cannot brush Bofors revelations under the carpet…,” he told reporters here.
Lindstrom, who led the investigations into the scandal, has been reported as saying then Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and his then Swedish counterpart Olof Palme discussed the details of a financial quid pro quo before the Bofors gun deal under which Bofors would pay money to a foundation in Sweden to make it easier for payments to be made to Indians and others.
Asked about the six suspended Congress MPs, Ananth Kumar said: “Does the Congress approves of tearing papers and throwing them on the Chair? They had no answer… There were many other people in the well of the house, they were not named.”
On a question whether the suspension could be revoked, he said: “That ball is in the Speaker’s court.”
Ananth Kumar added that the MPs should apologise to Speaker, but refused to comment on whether they have approached her so far.
Congress MPs Gaurav Gogoi, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Ranjit Ranjan, Sushmita Dev, M.K. Raghavan, and K. Suresh were suspended for five sittings of the house on Monday after they tore and threw papers in the house as well as on the chair.
Congress and other opposition parties have requested the Speaker to revoke the suspension, and the lower house was adjourned for the day after a ruckus over the issue.
The opposition MPs are also seeking a debate on the atrocities on Dalits and minorities and violence by cow vigilantes. Ruling party MPs on Monday had raised the Bofors deal issue as opposition benches sought a debate on lynchings.