Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Income tax notice to Narendra Modi govt over Vibrant Gujarat rocks Parliament

March 16, 2011 New Delhi:

There was ruckus in the Rajya Sabha today following protests by the BJP members over the Income Tax Department\'s notice to the Narendra Modi government regarding MoUs signed during the Vibrant Gujarat Summit.

The party, joined by BJD and JD(U), forced adjournment of the House till noon after the Leader of Opposition, Arun Jaitley, strongly objected to the I-T department seeking details of MoUs between investors and the state government during the summit held in January this year.

\"This is a huge assault on the federalism of India. There is no greater abuse... Do you have animus against people of Gujarat. Is Gujarat an enemy territory? Do you treat the Chief Minister as an enemy? Jaitley asked, slamming the notice.

Jaitley said that all opposition-governed states including those not ruled by the BJP have been complaining discrimination.

Referring to Gujarat, he said the state was doing economically well and attracting investments from all over the world.

Jaitley said the state has institutionalised the system of attracting investment through the event \'Vibrant Gujarat.\' Several Indian and global corporations have signed MoUs with the state committing investment to the tune of Rs. 25.35 lakh crore. \"Instead of feeling proud, you let loose I-T department against those who have entered into MoUs,\" he said.

The BJP leader said \"if the I-T official has written the letter on his own, then it was a dereliction of duty and a \'textbook case\' for his removal.\"

\"If it was done at the behest of political masters, they should come to the House and apologise,\" Jaitley said leading protests by BJP members who trooped into the well of the House shouting slogans.

There were then heated exchanges between the Congress and the BJP members which forced Deputy Chairman K Rahman Khan to adjourn the House initially for ten minutes. Tempers ran high when some Congress members retorted saying, \"All MoUs are fraud\".

When it reassembled, BJP member M Venkaiah Naidu said the only solution to the issue was that either the Prime Minister or the Finance Minister should make a statement.

Jaitley said that on the eve of the Summit, opposition Congress in the state had made a public statement that the Union Finance Ministry must use the I-T department to inquire into MoUs.

The BJP refused to pay heed to Parliamentary Affairs Minister P K Bansal, who said that he was not being allowed to speak on the issue. \"They are not letting me to speak\" he complained to the Chair.

As the din continued, Khan adjourned the House till noon.

After the House re-assembled at noon, the BJP members again trooped into the well demanding that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Home Minister P Chidambaram should come to the House and make a statement on the issue.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister P K Bansal tried to pacify the agitating members requesting them to allow the proceedings to continue till lunch time and assured them that he will apprise the Prime Minister of the sentiments of the members.

PJ Kurien, who was in the Chair, repeatedly asked the members to listen to the Parliamentary Affairs Minister. He also asked the members to lay their Special Mentions.

However, as the din continued, Kurien adjourned the House till 2 PM. Bansal, who had repeatedly, requested the Opposition members to allow the proceedings, was heard expressing dissatisfaction over the disruptions.

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