LS ethics committee member says Narada probe can proceed

The ethics committee member said that Narada News had been asked to provide all documents, including raw footage and device used for the sting operation.

PTI| Last Updated: Apr 15, 2016, 20:55 PM IST

Kolkata: Lok Sabha ethics committee member Arjun Meghwal on Friday said that notices had been sent to five TMC lawmakers in connection with their purported acceptance of money by a fictious company in a sting operation.

"Prima facie it is being felt, that is why notices have been issued," Meghwal, BJP chief whip in the Lok Sabha, told newspersons here when asked whether the committee found any reason to further the probe on preliminary findings.

The ethics committee member said that Narada News, the news portal which conducted the sting operation, had been asked to provide all documents, including raw footage and device used for the sting operation.

"The matter was referred to the ethics committee on March 16 by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan considering the gravity of the charges and the committee has since debated the matter and has also taken legal and technical assistance in this regard," Meghwal said.

"There was no undue haste in dealing with the matter and the committee is moving in a systematic manner," he said.

"MPs shown in the video have been sent notice on April 7 to give their versions in written replies in connection with the allegations," he said.

Asked whether the ethics committee of the 16th Lok Sabha can take action in connection with an alleged incident with regard to members of the 15th Lok Sabha, Meghwal said, "The sting operation has been claimed to have been done over two years since 2014 and all five MPs are members of the current Lok Sabha as well as the previous one."

The 16th Lok Sabha came into being in mid-2014 and Narada News editor in-chief Mathew Samuel has claimed that the sting operation began before the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 and continued for two years.

The five MPs are Saugata Roy, Sultan Ahmad, Suvendu Adhikari, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar and Prasoon Banerjee.

Footages of the sting operations by Narada News, which are yet to be verified for authenticity, show several TMC leaders, including MPs and senior ministers in the state Cabinet, taking money on behalf of a fictitious company.

Meghwal said that the authenticity of the footages would be probed and after receiving the replies of the five MPs, further action would be contemplated by the committee.

He said that "if found guilty, action would be taken which could be termination of membership of the MPs."