Told to file replies by February 13

Speaker of the Legislative Assembly K.G. Bopaiah on Friday said show-cause notices have been issued to three former Ministers — Krishna Palemar, Laxman Savadi and C.C. Patil — who were caught watching porn on a cellphone during the Assembly session. The three members have been directed to reply to the notices by February 13.

Addressing presspersons here, Mr. Bopaiah said: “I did not disqualify the three MLAs summarily to ensure that the accused get principles of natural justice.”

The Speaker said he followed the procedure followed by Lok Sabha for cash for question scandal and decided to constitute a seven-member House panel to conduct an inquiry into the issue. The panel would be constituted after February 13, he said.

The panel would comprise two members from the Congress, one from the Janata Dal (Secular) and four from the BJP. Leader of the Assembly S. Suresh Kumar would nominate ruling party members and Chairman of the panel. The committee would be given full powers to probe the porn scandal and submit its report to him before March 12. The report would be tabled in the Assembly, Mr. Bopaiah said.

Asked about the Opposition's demand for filing a complaint against three former Ministers, the Speaker said he was not in the Chair during the incident. Deputy Speaker Yogish Bhat was chairing the session at the time. Since Opposition members were present in the House, they could have filed a complaint against the members, Mr. Bopaiah said. The Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) have been demanding disqualification of three members from the House.

The Speaker said the Opposition had agreed to constituting a the panel to probe charges against three members during the meeting he chaired before the commencement of the session on February 8. But they took a different stance and demanded disqualification of members from the House, the Speaker added.