New Delhi, March 31 (IANS) The Ethics Committee of the Lok Sabha has sought CDs and video footage from the Narada News portal company on the sting done on Trinamool Congress leaders.
Sources said portal Narada News CEO Mathew Samuel has been asked by the secretariat of the 15-member panel, headed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) veteran L.K. Advani, to submit over 50 “unedited” videos including a few which have not been aired or telecast so far.
“This is a preliminary and normal routine exercise. Only after receiving the videos and related materials, the panel can sit and take cognizance of the case,” sources told IANS.
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on March 16 referred the matter related to the sting operation to the Ethics Committee for investigation.
A sting operation by the portal in West Bengal allegedly showed several Trinamool leaders, including Members of Parliament, accepting money in return for lobbying for a private firm.
The 15-member Ethics Committee, besides Advani, includes Arjun Meghwal, Kariya Munda (both BJP), B. Mahtab (Biju Janata Dal), Ninong Ering (Congress) and Akshay Yadav (Samajwadi Party).
Meanwhile, sources also said Mathew has complained to the Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari that his phones were being tapped.
Significantly, the allegations of phone tapping come with Trinamool Congress floor leader in Rajya Sabha, Derek O’Brien, raising the bogie of influence of black money against the portal.
O’Brien had claimed in the upper house that the day the first video footage was released telephone calls were made to the news portal from Dubai.
Besides Mukul Roy, Rajya Sabha MP, the sting also showed five Trinamool MPs, Saugata Roy, Sultan Ahmad, Suvendu Adhikari, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar and Prasun Banerjee, allegedly accepting bribes in the sting operation.