New Delhi: Days after the ED summoned Leader of opposition Mallikarjun Kharge even as the Monsoon Session was on, the Congress on Monday upped its ante and said it was an affront to the sacred institution of Parliament.
Congress Chief Whip, Jairam Ramesh said, “Under the circumstances, in keeping with the sanctity of Parliament and Parliamentarians and its time-honoured conventions, it is high time that the presiding officers of both Houses may deliberate and ensure that such gross affronts on the Parliament and MPs does not recur.”
He said that even though the House was in session, LOP adhered to the summons and accordingly went to the Young India office in which premises he was required to be present for as long as eight and a half hours.
“Notwithstanding this fact, in such matters, issuing of summons by ED or any law-enforcing agencies to any MP much less the Leader of Opposition (LoP) when the Parliament is in session, is an outright affront to the sacred institution of Parliament and Parliamentarians,” he added.
Ramesh said the LoP is not an accused in any case but on August 3 summons were sent through an email by the Enforcement Directorate requiring his presence at the office of Young India Limited (YIL) in the National Herald building. In response thereto, LoP sent an email to the concerned Investigating Officer of ED that as “Parliament session is urgently underway and (he) being Leader of Opposition, have prior commitments in the ongoing session and accordingly…. Our authorised representative is in Delhi and will appear before your goodself at 10:30AM on 04/08/2022. I am happy to meet you on any day when Parliament is not in session. I assure you of my fullest cooperation in your ongoing investigation.”
Ramesh said this request was not acceded to by the Enforcement Directorate and was insisted upon that his presence was necessary at the National Herald building at 12.30 hrs that day. “The LOP apprised the House about this development and stated that while abiding by the laws of the land, he would be going to the National Herald building but pointed out that it was not appropriate on the part of the ED to “summon” him while the session is on,” added Jairam Ramesh.
On August 5, an observation was made by the Chairman Rajya Sabha the thrust of which was that Parliamentary privileges were not available in the criminal cases.