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Assembly panel issues notice to DMK's Stalin for bringing gutkha into House

It seeks response from DMK leader within a week for bringing banned product

Press Trust of India  |  Chennai 

DMK leader M K Stalin. Photo: PTI
DMK leader M K Stalin. Photo: PTI

The Assembly Privileges Committee on Monday issued a notice to the (DMK) working president M K and 20 other legislators of his party for having brought Gutkha, a banned product, into the House in July.

The committee is led by Pollachi V Jayaraman, who is also the deputy Speaker of the assembly.

Sources said the panel has sent notices to the MLAs seeking their explanation within a week.

The notices were sent after scrutinising the assembly proceedings' footage of July 19 when members of the main opposition had held up Gutkha pouches.

legislator told reporters here that what his party MLAs had done was their "democratic" duty.

It was to demonstrate that banned Gutkha was available and action should be taken to halt it, he said.

Senior Communist Party of India (CPI) leader D Pandian said similar instances were seen in assemblies elsewhere to drive home various point like "presence of rotten rice", adding that likewise Opposition leader had raised the Gutkha matter in the House.

On July 19, MLAs led by had created a furore in the assembly when they held up Gutkha sachets, prompting Speaker P Dhanapal to refer their action to the Privileges Committee.

The Speaker had then said that the DMK MLAs' action amounted to "breach of privilege". During the debate, that day in the House, leader of the opposition Stalin sought to raise the issue of alleged availability of Gutkha in the state.

The issue of 'gutkha' (a mixture of chewing tobacco and betel nut) has created a political furore in

Searches by Income Tax authorities in the premises of a gutkha manufacturer in Chennai last year had led to the unearthing of documents claiming a "payout" to a minister and officials including a senior police officer, as a quid pro quo for overlooking the sale of the banned product.

Ever since the matter came into the limelight, the opposition DMK has been targeting the ruling AIADMK (All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) for allegedly allowing Gutkha sale and the alleged graft involved in it.

First Published: Mon, August 28 2017. 23:34 IST