Breach of privilege: Iyer skips appearance before House panel, seeks apology

Bhubaneswar: Delhi-based Journalist Abhijit Iyer Mitra today skipped appearance before the Assembly panel for inquiry into alleged breach of privilege.

In two emails to the Speaker Niranjan Pujari and the House Committee, Iyer sought apology for not deposing before the panel on the scheduled date as per summon.

However, giving one more opportunity to the scribe, the House panel served another notice asking him to appear before it at 11.00 am on October 23.

Iyer had sent two emails to the House committee. In an email, he sought apology for his remarks against members of Assembly. Another date has been fixed for October 23 asking him to depose before the panel. He might not have appeared before the panel due to very severe cyclonic storm ‘Titli’. However, the panel does not consider it as breach of privilege of House, said Mishra after meeting.

Notably, the members of the committee attended the meeting this morning as Iyer was expected to be deposed to put his stand clear on the allegations leveled against him.

Earlier, he was summoned to depose at 11.00 am on Oct 11 before the House Committee headed the Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra for the probe as to whether the criticism is breach of privilege of the House or the legislatures.

Last week, Iyer was supposed to appear before Odisha police for interrogation into his alleged derogatory remarks on Sun Temple on Twitter after the Supreme Court rejected his bail plea.

However, he had sought police security for appearance before the police.

The apex court on Oct 5 had dismissed his bail petition to grant relief over his alleged remarks that hurt religious sentiments of people of Odisha.

Hearing on his bail plea, a bench of three judges headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi denied relief from arrest to Iyer saying, “Your comments incite religious feelings. How are you entitled for bail?”

Justice Gogoi said that jail was the better place for Iyer to stay if the latter’s life is in danger.

Notably, Abhijit Iyer is facing charges over his derogatory remarks on Konark Sun Temple’s architecture. Two FIRs have been lodges separately against him after he posted a series of tweets on microbloging site Twitter criticising Odisha culture and Lord Jagannath.

Iyer, who is a friend of former Biju Janata Dal MP Baijayant Panda, drew flak from all quarters of leaders cutting across the party line after he posted a video on social media making derogatory remarks on the Sun Temple and a series of tweets insulting Odisha people and their culture.

Following this, the Assembly Speaker constituted a six-member House committee for probe into his alleged remarks against members of the Assembly.

Iyer made objectionable remarks following his recent visit to Odisha along with his aides including former parliamentarian on the latter’s chopper.

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