Home India News After four days of calm, IPL storm hits parliament

After four days of calm, IPL storm hits parliament


New Delhi : After four days of calm, the Indian Premier League (IPL) storm plunged both houses of parliament into turmoil Friday after the opposition demanded a parliamentary probe into the country’s worst sports crisis.

But the IPL was not the only issue that incensed MPs. The Rajya Sabha witnessed vociferous protests over the continued absence of Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister M.K. Alagiri when he failed to show up during question hour — in a re-run of what happened in the Lok Sabha Thursday.

The IPL row prompted two adjournments of the Lok Sabha but it functioned normally when it reassembled after the lunch recess. The Rajya Sabha also saw two adjournments, the second for the day after it reassembled at 2.30 p.m.

Furious over continuous revelations of alleged financial wrongdoings in the popular IPL cricket extragavanza, the opposition called for a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe into the functioning of IPL.

The government said it would consider the request.

“I have noted everybody’s suggestion. I will forward the sentiments to the prime minister (Manmohan Singh),” Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in the Lok Sabha.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Left and other opposition parties raised the issue to target the government that finds itself in a fix ahead of the key finance bill and vote on budget.

Opposition leader Sushma Swaraj insisted that a JPC be appointed to look into allegations that the IPL had been enveloped by match-fixing, betting, money laundering and improper award of franchises.

She said the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government was delaying the probe to protect some political leaders.

Terming the IPL “a den of thieves”, Janata Dal-U leader Sharad Yadav insisted that two ministers figured in the controversy — but he did not name them.

“Two ministers have been named,” he said, in an apparent reference to Agriculture Minister Sharad Yadav and Aviation Minister Praful Patel, senior leaders of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), a key UPA ally.

Gurudas Dasgupta of the Communist Party of India called the IPL one of the worst cases of corruption to hit India.

Media reports allege that Patel forwarded an e-mail to Shashi Tharoor with projections for the bidding of new IPL franchises. Tharoor last week quit as junior foreign minister after being linked to the IPL Kochi franchise.

Pawar’s daughter and MP Supriya Sule has maintained that her family has no connection with the IPL.

As the opposition members kept shouting “We want JPC”, Speaker Meira Kumar was forced to adjourn the Lok Sabha till noon.

When the members reassembled, the MPs again created a ruckus.

Deputy Speaker Karia Munda asked the government to lay 14 business papers amid the din. The house was then adjourned till 2 p.m. When it met again, it resumed the debate on the budget for 2010-11.

In the Rajya Sabha, opposition members led by BJP’s S.S. Ahluwalia, Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Prakash Javadekar sought a JPC probe into what is being increasingly described as the IPL scandal.

Ignoring the disturbances, Deputy Chairman K. Rahman Khan asked for official papers to be laid on the table of the house and told Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Prithviraj Chavan to list the business for next week. He then adjourned the house till 2.30 p.m.

With the ruckus continuing when the house reassembled, Khan adjourned it for the day.