The alleged payment of bribes to a Tamil Nadu Minister and officials for sale of banned gutkha today rocked the state assembly with the DMK leading an opposition walkout after being denied permission to raise it. DMK members, waving newspaper clippings, raised slogans demanding a debate, but Speaker P Dhanapal ruled that matters based on media reports cannot be discussed. He also expunged a reference made by Leader of the Opposition M K Stalin. Opposing the Speaker’s ruling, DMK and its allies Congress and the lone IUML member staged a walkout.
Earlier, Stalin mentioned about searches held by the Income Tax Department against a gutkha manufacturer here.
When he went on to make some references, the Speaker said he cannot allow him to go ahead further on the matter based on media reports which were not ‘evidence’. He said ‘papers’ submitted by Stalin in this connection were being scrutinised by him. DMK Deputy Leader Duraimurugan and party whip Sakkarapani were on their feet seeking a discussion. Soon all the DMK members stood up, waved newspaper clippings and raised slogans.
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At this, Dhanapal said, “If you have proof, give it to me I will study it and allow.” Disallowing Duraimurugan from raising a point of order, the Speaker ruled nothing would go on record. “You (DMK) must have got permission from me,” he said and highlighted his recent ruling that issues could not be allowed to be raised in the House based on media reports. Recently, Dhanapal had disallowed debate on the issue of alleged payoff to some ruling party MLAs ahead of February 18 trust vote following an expose by a News TV channel.
However, the DMK members remained on their feet waving paper clippings and raising slogans despite pleas by the Speaker for smooth conduct of the proceedings before trooping out of the House. The issue has surfaced after a media report recently claimed the IT department had seized documents detailing alleged payment of bribes during a search of premises of a gutkha manufacturer last year. The IT investigation wing has said it was awaiting a reply from the state government over the issue.