Cong, BJP walk out of Assembly, demand debate on chitfund scam

Bhubaneswar: Opposition Congress and BJP on Tuesday walked out of Odisha Assembly accusing Speaker Niranjan Pujari of delaying a debate on the multi-crore chitfund scam even as normalcy returned with the House passing a bill in the post-lunch session.

“Since there is no respect towards sentiments of the opposition, we walk out of the House in protest,” said Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra of Congress while BJP legislature party leader Basant Panda led their walkout.

As the House, which was adjourned till 3 pm due to ruckus by ruling BJD, reassembled in the afternoon, Mishra accused Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik of running away from the House fearing a discussion on chitfund scam. “There is a fear psychosis among some people in the government and therefore not allowing a debate on the chitfund scam,” Mishra said.

Stating that all the parties including BJD have expressed their willingness to hold a debate on the issue of ponzi scam, the Congress leader said: “Surprisingly, the Speaker is not allowing debate though it has been agreed to hold such a discussion in the business advisory committee meeting on Saturday.”

While opposition Congress and BJP have moved separate notices for holding discussion on the chitfund scam, the ruling party has also made similar move. However, Speaker Pujari said he had been waiting for views of the Advocate General on the issue as the matter was sub-judice.

“I hope to receive advice of the AG soon. Then only, I can take a decision on the matter,” Pujari said.

Congress leader Mishra, who is also a lawyer by profession, argued that there was no hurdle before the Speaker to allow the debate as the same subject had been discussed in the House in the previous Assembly.

“Then, the House discussed on the chitfund scam when the matter was in fact sub-judice. Now, the Supreme Court had adjudicated the matter and allowed the CBI to probe the matter,” Mishra pointed out.

Senior BJD member and former minister Amar Prasad Satpathy, however, supported the Speaker’s action and claimed that as the matter relating to the chitfund scam is under investigation of a judicial commission, it might not be proper to hold a discussion in the House. “Waiting till the Speaker gets AG’s advice is wise,” Satpathy said.

Earlier during the pre-lunch session, the House was adjourned till 3 pm in two phases as the members of the treasury benches protested raising anti-Centre slogans.