//MPLADS scam: MPs get benefit of doubt

MPLADS scam: MPs get benefit of doubt

PTI, Tuesday, March 14, 2006  13:50 IST

NEW DELHI: The four Lok Sabha members named in the MPLADS scam on Tuesday got a reprieve with the Parliamentary Committee, which probed it, giving them the benefit of doubt and recommending that they be reprimanded and suspended till March 22, when the first leg of the Budget Session concludes.

The recommendations of the seven-member panel, chaired by V Kishore Chandra S Deo, come three months after the expulsion of 10 Lok Sabha members in the cash-for-query scam in the winter session of Parliament.

While maintaining that the conduct of none of the four members "was above board and they need to be handed out appropriate punishment", it gave the benefit of doubt to the four lawmakers, saying the "improper conduct" on their part "did not strictly speaking relate to their parliamentary duties and none of the said members was actually shown as accepting the money".

"Alemao Churchill (Congress), Paras Nath Yadav (SP), Faggan Singh Kulaste and Ramswaroop Koli (both Bharatiya Janata Party) may be reprimanded. They may also be suspended from the membership of the House till March 22, 2006," the committee recommended in its 51-page unanimous report tabled in the House on Tuesday.

The committee recommended that the Union Government revise guidelines governing MPLADS to plug loopholes and lacunae and initiate steps for "laying guidelines and norms for sting operators".

The period of abstention from sittings of the House and the committees by the four MPs on the directions of the Speaker "may be deemed to be their suspension from the membership of the House", it said.