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BJP legislators staged a protest in the Karnataka Assembly today after Speaker K B Koliwad disallowed discussions over the diary entries of alleged pay-offs to Congress leaders.
The BJP members shouted slogans and protested the decision of Koliwad which forced him to adjourn the House twice.
The issue relates to a diary reportedly recovered by the Income Tax department from the residence of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's Parliamentary Secretary K Govindaraju.
The diary entries allegedly show a few acronyms similar to the names of some central Congress leaders, apart from Govindaraju, and amounts in crores of rupees against them, which were purportedly paid or received.
Leader of Opposition Jagadish Shettar questioned the Speaker for overturning his earlier decision of allowing the discussions under Rule 69 of the House by upholding the point of order raised by ministers K R Ramesh Kumar and T B Jayachandra.
Before Shettar could begin his submission over the issue, Jayachandra and later, Kumar raised the point of order, which was vehemently opposed by the BJP members.
"I have not even started my presentation of facts regarding the diary issue, the honourable minister (Jayachandra) has raised a point of order. What is happening? You (Speaker) have given me the permission, so I should be allowed to speak first, and then the point of order could be raised," Shettar argued.
Countering the argument, Koliwad said he had all the rights to review his decision of allowing discussion on the matter. "Who has told you that I cannot review the decision. First you had pleaded for discussion under Rule 60. Then I covered it under Rule 69. I have all the rights to review the decision," the Speaker said.
Intervening, Kumar alleged that it was the fault of the Secretariat to have admitted the notice on discussion on the issue, because the House cannot deliberate on a subject which is beyond its jurisdiction.
Moreover, the Income Tax department had not established pay-offs made to Congress leaders in the diary, he claimed.
Also, Govindaraju is not a member of this House, but of the Upper House, and taking his name in the assembly was inappropriate, the minister argued.
Earlier, Jayachandra read out the submissions made by
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi and Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta before the Supreme Court on the Sahara diaries case to make a point that discussions cannot be held in the House on the basis of "loose papers" of evidence.
"Documents filed by the Birla as well as the Sahara Group are not in the form of an account book as mentioned in the regular course of business.
"They are random sheets and loose papers and their correctness and authenticity, even the names mentioned therein, have been found to be unreliable, having no evidentiary value...So, it is untenable to make a case out of loose evidentiary facts," Jayachandra said, reading out Rohatgi's submissions before the apex court.
Taking into account the points raised by the ministers, the Speaker upheld their contentions and disallowed discussions on the matter.
"I uphold the contentions of the ministers, for it is untenable to discuss on the diary, which is nothing but a bunch of loose papers of evidentiary facts," he said.
The BJP legislators then stormed into the Well of the House. They raised slogans and staged a protest which prompted the Speaker to adjourn the House twice.