Flamboyant lawyer and Bharatiya Janata Party member Ram Jethmalani on Thursday repeatedly held up the proceedings in the Rajya Sabha with his pointed references to Indian accountholders of black money in Swiss banks.
Accusing the government of not having the courage to pursue the black money details, he said the people would throw it out. “Power corrupts but the prospect of losing power corrupts absolutely,” he said.
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Participating in the debate on the Lokpal Bill, Mr. Jethmalani referred to an article published in a European magazine in 1991 that contained “names, photographs and bank account numbers” of Indian Swiss accountholders. When he proceeded to reveal the names, he was shouted down by Congress members, led by Mani Shankar Aiyar.
Deputy Chairman K. Rahman Khan, who repeatedly asked the protesting members to take their seats, said it was “not correct to bring the name of prime minister” and wanted removal of the reference made by Mr. Jethmalani.
The House quietened down only after Mr. Khan intervened to expunge the reference.
However, within minutes, a fresh commotion broke out over another remark made by Mr. Jethmalani. He attacked the United Progressive Alliance government on the protocol signed with the Swiss government on double taxation avoidance treaty.
The Chair expunged the remark.
When order was restored, Mr. Jethmalani said the protocol was designed to seek only future information and not information about the past.
Mr. Aiyar objected to the comment, saying it had no relevance to the discussion on the Lokpal Bill.
Mr. Jethmalani said the Central Bureau of Investigation had begun with an impeccable reputation, which was tarnished over the years.
Making out a case for a strong and independent CBI, he said the superintendence of the agency must be transferred from the Central government to the Lokpal.