New Delhi: A central minister had breached Parliament`s privilege on two counts while making a statement on Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee`s controversial rally at Lalgarh in West Bengal, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Sitaram Yechury has alleged in a letter to Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari.
In his statement on the concluding day of Parliament`s Monsoon session Aug 31, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal had stated that the rally had been organised by the Forum for Citizens Against Violence, while the permission for this had been sought by the local unit of Banerjee`s Trinamool Congress, Yechury said in his letter.
Bansal had also stated that Banerjee had clarified that she addressed the Aug 9 rally in her capacity as the Trinamool Congress chief while the letter seeking permission clearly stated that she would be speaking as the railway minister, Yechury pointed out.
"Such a gross misrepresentation of facts is tantamount to misleading the house and should attract the attention of Rule 187, raising a question involving a breach of privilege," Yehcury said in his letter.
According to Yehcury, the permission for the rally was sought by Pranab Basu, president, Paschim Mednipur District Trinamool Congress Committee through a letter addressed to the district magistrate on July 23.
"The said permission was granted by Shri Narayan Swaroop Nigam, IAS on August 3, 2010, through a letter No 773-DM, addressed to Shri Pranab Basu, president, Paschim Mednipur District Trinamool Congress Committee," Yechury said in the letter.
"The formal letter seeking permission for the rally states as its subject: Permission for holding a public meeting at Lalgarh High School ground on 9th August `10 from 12 noon by honourable Railway Minister, Government of India, Smt Mamata Banerjee. The enclosed copy of the letter confirms this," Yechury said.
He also noted that the national media had reported that the railway ministry had ordered the deployment of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) at the venue, a fact that had not been contradicted.
"Surely, a Minister of the Union Cabinet, addressing a political meeting in her personal capacity as the leader of a political party, cannot order the deployment of the RPF," Yechury maintained.
The rally had rocked parliament after Banerjee, during her speech, had alleged that Maoist spokesperson Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad had been killed in a staged shootout in Andhra Pradesh in July.