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BJP seeks Soren's removal

Our Political Bureau  |  New Delhi 

As part of an apparent strategy to keep up pressure on the government on the issue of tainted minister, the Opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on Wednesday unleashed a scathing attack on the government in over reports that Coal Minister has been declared a "proclaimed offender" for his alleged involvement in a murder in 1975 and sought to know whether information about the case was known at the time of his induction in the Union Cabinet.
The was adjourned for 20 minutes during Question Hour when Soren, who was present in the House, left it.
Amidst strong protests by the ruling UPA benches, BJP leader and former Law Minister Arun Jaitley said a warrant was pending against Soren and he had not submitted himself to judicial process.
The decision of a Jharkhand sessions court to declare the minister a "proclaimed offender" showed he was a "fugitive" who was running away from law, Jaitley, supported by several BJP members, alleged.
Elections to the Jharkhand Assembly are due later this year or early next year and in all probability, Soren, whose Jharkhand Mukti Morcha helped the UPA defeat all but one BJP candidate in the Lok Sabha elections, will go to the state as the chief minister.
The is trying to create an atmosphere to discredit him so that the UPA begins to find him an embarrassment.
The House was adjourned following pandemonium over media reports that a murder case was pending against Soren. members led by Jaitley, SS Ahluwalia and Sushma Swaraj waved newspapers and demanded action against the minister. Some Opposition members also demanded Soren's arrest.
Countering the Opposition attack, UPA benches shouted slogans like "chor machaye shor" (thieves are shouting).
Authenticating the newspaper report, Jaitley said the minister had submitted before the returning officer the fact that the case was pending against him in a court.
"It is not that he was not unaware of it," Jaitley said and wanted to know whether this information was given to the Prime Minister and the President at the time of cabinet formation.
The former Law Minister said Soren should be put behind bars. At this juncture, Chairman assured the house that Soren would not go absconding.
Responding to the opposition attack, Home Minister said a was one who was absconding.
"This person contested election, moved in the public. This person is known to everybody," Patil said adding he would collect information and come before the house.
Taking exception to opposition raising the issue on the basis of a newspaper report, CPI M member sought a ruling from the Chair saying the rules did not permit reference to media reports.


First Published: Thu, July 15 2004. 00:00 IST