Defiant Bhagwant Mann tells panel he has done no wrong; most members want stringent action
A defiant AAP MP Bhagwant Mann on Monday told a committee set up to probe his Parliament House videography issue that he has not breached the security, which members said was a contradiction as he has already tendered an unconditional apology for his act to the Speaker.
New Delhi: A defiant AAP MP Bhagwant Mann on Monday told a committee set up to probe his Parliament House videography issue that he has not breached the security, which members said was a contradiction as he has already tendered an unconditional apology for his act to the Speaker.
Mann was grilled by the committee for nearly one-and-a- half hours during which he maintained that he has not breached the security of the high-security complex. He is learnt to have reiterated his demand that the ambit of the panel is extended to summon the Prime Minister for "inviting" ISI personnel to the Pathankot airbase in the aftermath of a terror strike there in January.
"In a way, he was not repenting... He asked for more time and said he cannot appear tomorrow. We have asked him on August 3 now," said a panel member.
Last week, in a five-page letter, Mann had refused to tender an unqualified apology and had demanded that the prime minister too be summoned before the committee.
Since the committee has to submit its report on August 3 to the Lok Sabha Speaker, it may seek an extension.
"We were mandated to find out whether Mann has breached security and if he has, the action which needed to be taken. The other task is to recommend how such breaches can be prevented in the future. But so far we have not touched upon this aspect as we have concentrated on Mann. We may need more time now," said another member.
At the meeting today, several members were "cut up" as Mann's response was considered as "contradictory and confusing". Members pointed out to him that while he wants the panel to be wound up as he has not committed a breach, on the other hand, he wants its ambit to include the Prime Minister.
While most members want the panel to recommend "stringent action", others want him to have his final say on Wednesday before taking a final call.
In the nearly 12-minute video, apparently shot on July 21, Mann gives a running commentary as his vehicle crosses security barricades and enters Parliament. "I'll today show you something you would not have seen earlier," he says.
Mann then enters a room where questions to be taken up inside Parliament are being sorted and describes the process.
Mann alleged the committee made him wait for 30 to 45 minutes before starting the questioning. He said panel member and BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi asked him which countries did he visit recently.
"Kirit Somaiya asked me to tender an unconditional apology and edit the response, dropping the reference to the Prime Minister and ISI."
"I asked them what was the need for setting up a committee when I had already issued an unconditional apology. The committee's job is not to suggest to edit my response, but to accept it and take action," Mann said.