Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Arch political rivals the AIADMK and the DMK on Thursday clashed in the Rajya Sabha over the phone tapping issue.

Participating in a discussion on the subject, AIADMK leader V. Maitreyan alleged interception of conversations of political leaders in Tamil Nadu.

Even as DMK and Congress members protested, Mr Maitreyan alleged that “illegal and unauthorised” phone tapping was happening in Tamil Nadu and he himself was a victim.

He said phones of other leaders, including Jayanthi Natarajan (Congress) and some Union Ministers from the State, were also under surveillance. This evoked an angry response from Tiruchi Siva (DMK) who asked the AIADMK member to authenticate his charge. B.K. Hariprasad (Congress) was also on his feet saying the member was levelling a “serious charge.” G.K. Vasan (Congress) said: “If he is serious he has to be relevant.”

Supporting Mr. Maitreyan, BJP member S.S. Ahluwalia said he had raised the matter as he himself was a victim.

Another wordy duel

Even as this debate was going on another wordy duel between the two parties was witnessed when DMK member Kanimozhi alleged that A. Elavarasan (AIADMK) had made a derogatory remark against her colleague Vasanthi Stanley. Charging that he had spoken a Tamil word, she sought an apology. Mr Maitreyan said he was not yielding.

P.J. Kurien, who was in the Chair at the time, said he had checked the records and there was no record of use of any Tamil word. “If there is nothing in the record I cannot do anything.”

When the Chair threatened to adjourn the House, Home Minister P. Chidambaram intervened saying it would not be good if the House adjourned without a reply. He appealed to Mr. Maitreyan not to make the debate personal.

However, Ms. Stanley said she needed the protection of the Chair and sought an apology, which was rejected outright by the AIADMK.