Srishailappa Bidarur, Chairman of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly Committee probing the scandal involving three former Ministers who were caught watching porn clipping sin the Assembly, on Monday sought to make it clear that the representatives of the media were summoned to collect evidence for the inquiry and not to “harass” them.

When The Hindu contacted Mr. Bidarur for his response to Press Council of India Chairman Markandey Katju's letter to Speaker K.G. Bopaiah, calling for dropping of proceedings against the media representatives, he said the media representatives had been called to collect “materialistic evidence” necessary for the probe.

“Our intention was not to harass them,” he said before adding that the videographed evidence on the day the former Ministers were allegedly found watching porn video clips in the Assembly was vital for the probe. The former Ministers Laxman Savadi, C.C. Patil and J. Krishna Palemar are facing charges of watching sleazy videos during Assembly proceedings.

He said the committee strictly went by the terms of reference of the probe as announced by the Speaker. “We had prepared a questionnaire for the media representatives and we asked them questions pertaining to the subject of inquiry,” he said.

To a question, Mr. Bidarur clarified that there was no proposal before the committee to summon other MLAs as speculated in the media.

He said the committee, before which the media representatives as well as the former Ministers had appeared, will resume its sittings on March 15 and 16 before submitting a report to the Speaker before March 20. “It will be left to the Speaker to table it in the House”, he said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Bopaiah said he had not received the letter purported to have been sent by Mr. Katju. “I am in my constituency. I have not yet seen the letter,” he said.

However, he said the committee has been given full powers to conduct the probe as per their discretion, but within the scope and terms of reference for the probe. When asked to respond to Mr. Katju's call for dropping the proceedings against media representatives, Mr. Bopaiah said it would be unfair to comment without seeing the letter.

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