Mah Assembly adjourned amid noisy scenes over Bhujbal’s arrest
Mumbai : Maharashtra Legislative Assembly today witnessed noisy scenes as opposition Congress and NCP members protested against the arrest of former state Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, leading the session to be adjourned for 10 minutes.
As soon as the House proceedings began, the opposition members started shouting slogans against Bhujbal’s arrest.
Speaker Haribhau Bagade tried to pacify them but as the din increased, he announced that the House was being adjourned for 10 minutes.
He said the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had informed him that Bhujbal has been arrested.
Earlier, the Congress and NCP legislators staged a protest on the steps of Vidhan Bhawan’s main entrance, against Bhujbal’s arrest.
They carried placards decrying the “fascist government” for arresting the senior NCP leader and shouted slogans condemning the “vendetta politics”.
Bhujbal was last night arrested by the ED here after 10 hours of questioning in connection with its probe in a money laundering case registered against him and others.
According to an ED official, the arrest of the former PWD minister was effected under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after he allegedly refused to cooperate during questioning. The agency also recorded his statement in the case.
The agency has filed two FIRs against Bhujbal, his son and nephew and others under the provisions of PMLA, based on Mumbai Police FIRs, to probe the Delhi-based Maharashtra Sadan construction scam and the Kalina land grabbing case.
Meanwhile, the Opposition Congress and NCP forced the adjournment of Maharashtra Legislative Council for the day over the issue of Bhujbal’s arrest.
As the Upper House assembled today, the members of the Opposition parties, via an adjournment motion, called for the House to set aside the day’s business and discuss the issue of arrest of the senior NCP leader.
Leader of Opposition Dhananjay Munde, who moved the motion, contended that Bhujbal was a former Deputy Chief Minister, a former LoP, an ex-member of the Council, and his arrest has had repercussions across the state.
“People across the state are angry and are indulging in protests and ‘rasta roko’ over the manner in which he was arrested despite cooperating with the investigation agencies. It is thus imperative that all other business must be set aside and the House discuss the issue,” Munde said.
Responding to Munde’s contention, Council Chairman Ramraje Nimbalkar said the House usually conducts the Question Hour first and then an adjournment motion is considered.
Dissatisfied with the Chairman’s reply, the Opposition members rushed to the Well and shouted slogans against the government. A ruckus then ensued and the House was initially adjourned for 30 minutes.
However, sloganeering against the government continued as the House assembled again, amid the government’s call for conducting the Question Hour as per schedule.
“We should follow the rules of the House and thus conduct the Question Hour first. Once that is over, we can listen to what the Opposition has to say,” state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Girish Bapat said, amid vociferous protests by the Opposition.
The protests forced the House adjournment again for 20 minutes.
As the slogan shouting against the government did not stop when the members assembled again, the House was adjourned for a third time for 10 minutes.
Following this, Deputy Chirman Vasant Davkhare said that the Opposition was in no mood to let the House conduct business, and thus ordered the House to be adjourned for the day.