They allegedly made remarks against Parliamentarians
Key members of Anna Hazare's core team — Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan and Kiran Bedi — have received breach of privilege notices from the Rajya Sabha for their alleged remarks against Parliamentarians during their anti-corruption campaign on the Ramlila grounds here last month.
Mr. Kejriwal, an officer of the Indian Revenue Service, Mr. Bhushan, a Supreme Court lawyer, and Ms. Bedi, a former IPS officer, received the notices for “breach of privilege/contempt of the House.”
They were accused of using derogatory words against MPs during the agitation. All have been asked to reply by September 14, after which Chairman Hamid Ansari will take a view on admitting or rejecting the notices.
Mr. Kejriwal received the notice on Saturday, while Mr. Bhushan and Ms. Bedi got it on Friday. The notice to Mr. Kejriwal comes on the heels of another notice to him from the I-T Department for payment of dues to the tune of Rs. 9.27 lakh for allegedly violating conditions in a bond for a study-leave and computer loan.
The notice against Mr. Bhushan is on a complaint by Mohammed Adeeb, an Independent member, while in the case of Ms. Bedi, it is based on complaints submitted by Mr. Adeeb as well as Jesudasu Seelam, Congress member in the Rajya Sabha.
Charging the three campaigners with launching a tirade against MPs, Mr. Adeeb alleged that they went “to the extent of saying that members of Parliament take money for passing Bills in Parliament.”
Terming the notice “totally misconceived,” Mr. Bhushan told The Hindu that he would respond to it.
“If speaking truth in public interest amounts to breach of privilege, then time has come for the country to review the whole notion of Parliamentary privileges,” he said.
“Received the breach of privilege notice. Shall respond appropriately recording the distrust ‘we the people' were suffering,'' Ms. Bedi tweeted after receiving the notice.
‘A bigger mirror’
“Sorry, I will not be able to say sorry,” she had said at a press conference here on Friday.
Referring to the shoe-hurling scenes in the Rajasthan Assembly last Monday, she said that if she had to appear before the privileges committee, she will “show a bigger mirror to our Parliamentarians.''
On Friday, anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare lashed out in Ralegaon Siddhi against the government for “targeting” members of the campaign.
Mr. Hazare had undertaken a 12-day fast here last month to press for a strong and effective anti-corruption law.
Thousands of people participated in the movement that concluded with Parliament accepting ‘in principle' the three key elements of the Jan Lokpal Bill.
These were — inclusion of lower bureaucracy, adoption of citizens's charter for time-bound delivery of services in government departments and formation of Lokayuktas in States.
Team Anna will present its case to the Standing Committee at the end of this month.
Meanwhile, the core members will meet under Mr. Hazare's leadership at Ralegaon Siddhi on September 10 and 11 to chalk out future plans.