New Delhi: The Lok Sabha was repeatedly disrupted on Monday as Opposition MPs noisily protested and demanded resignation of Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal after he was named in a multi-crore rupee fraud in allotment of shops in Chandigarh.
Bansal, the Chandigarh MP, however, denied the charges, saying it was "an effort to vilify me" as he questioned the veracity of the report brought out by a former Chandigarh official alleging irregularities in the allotment of small shops (called booths) on subsidised rates, apparently as a compensation for the fire at Bajwara market in Sector 22 in 1989.
Bharatiya Janata Party MPs created ruckus in the house, leading to the suspension of the crucial question hour over the matter that was again raised in the house during zero hour amid a din.
They were demanding Bansal`s resignation and a high level inquiry into the scam that surfaced early this month after the 700-page probe report was submitted to the union territory administration.
The report has also named Chandigarh administrator advisor Pradip Mehra, former Chandigarh deputy commissioner RK Rao, officers of Chandigarh estate office and senior police officials for being part of the scam.
"The financial dimensions of the fraudulent allotments run into crores of rupees, which include money being paid to the politicians, police officials and officers of the estate office," the report said.
BJP members, led by leader of opposition Sushma Swaraj, said the matter needed to be probed deeply by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
As chaos prevailed in the house, with protesting MPs noisily demanding a statement from the minister, Speaker Meira Kumar adjourned the house till noon.
The matter was raised again during zero hour.
Bansal dared the opposition to go for any "level of inquiry".
"I have nothing to hide. In fact, that would be in my interest," he said in an emotional statement in the house.
He said that the official who probed the matter had not even spoken to him once during the year-long investigation.
"There are scathing remarks against me in the report. But the officer didn`t bother to take my point of view. Madam, it is an effort to vilify me. It is a conspiracy to tarnish my image. I am honest and clean. I have done nothing wrong," he said, challenging Sushma Swaraj to contest the next Lok Sabha election from Chandigarh.
"Come and meet me after three years. Let`s see who gets elected to the Lok Sabha from Chandigarh," he said.
This furthered angered the opposition MPs, many of whom trooped towards the speaker`s podium, raising slogans to demand the minister`s resignation.
Meira Kumar then adjourned the house till 2 pm.