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Parliament disrupted over bugging allegations

Parliament disrupted over bugging allegations

New Delhi: Parliament was disrupted Wednesday as the opposition demanded a debate on the reported bugging at Union Minister Nitin Gadkari's Delhi residence.

As soon as the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha met for the day, members from the Congress were on their feet demanding suspension of question hour to take up a debate on the issue.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh said there is "no truth" in the reports.

"I want to clarify that there is no truth in the media reports (about bugging at Nitin Gadkari's house)," Rajnath Singh said in a statement in both houses.

"Even the minister, at whose residence it was said that high power listening devices were installed, has himself called the reports as completely baseless...and there have been no complaints by the minister or anyone else in this regard," he added.

In the Rajya Sabha, the opposition, dissatisfied with the minister's reply, kept pressing for adjourning the question hour.

In the ruckus, the house was first adjourned for 15 minutes, and then till noon.

When the house reassembled, the issue was raised again by Congress leader Anand Sharma.

"Government is tapping phones on a massive scale. Who authorised this? We want a thorough probe," Sharma said.

While Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien insisted that the zero hour should be taken up, opposition members kept pressing for their demand. Kurien then adjourned the house for 10 minutes.

Congress leader Satyavrat Chaturvedi accused the government of running away from a debate.

Responding to it, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said: "The minister concerned has denied the report... we are not running away from any discussion."

As the din continued, the chair adjourned the house till 2 p.m.

In the Lok Sabha, Leader of the Congress in the house, Mallikarjun Kharge demanded a statement either by Prime Minister Narendra Modi or the home minister on the issue.

He said such bugging incidents had taken place in Gujarat also. He also wanted to know that how many such bugging devices are planted inside the residences of ministers.

Media reports Sunday said bugging devices were found at Gadkari's Delhi residence. This was, however, denied by Gadkari.

Speaking to reporters outside parliament, Gadkari said that the media reports are baseless.

"I have clearly told you that whatever you are writing and showing is totally false and baseless and there is no truth in it. First it was said that it was my Mumbai residence and now it is the Delhi residence (which is bugged) and there is no truth in it," Gadkari said.

The lower house also witnessed ruckus by Shiv Sena members over alleged police action against Marathi-speaking people in Belgaum district in Karnataka.

Showing photographs of those allegedly injured in the police action and newspaper clippings, the Sena members demanded suspension of the question hour to discuss the issue.

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