Rajya Sabha suspends Trinamool MP for tearing IT minister’s papers

Parliamentary Affairs Minister V Muraleedharan moved a motion for Santanu Sen's suspension. It was passed by a voice vote and Chairman Venkaiah Naidu asked Sen to leave the House

Trinamool MP Santanu Sen. Pic: PTI

Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu has suspended Trinamool MP Santanu Sen for the remainder of the Monsoon Session of Parliament for snatching the papers from Union IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and tearing them during a discussion over the Pegasus scandal on Thursday (July 22).

The action was initiated after Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs V Muraleedharan moved a motion for Santanu Sen’s suspension. The motion was passed by a voice vote and Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu asked Sen to leave the House.

“Unfortunately, proceedings of the House hit a new low with papers being snatched from the Minister and torn into pieces. Such actions are a clear assault on our Parliamentary democracy. Santanu Sen, please withdraw from House. Allow the House to function,” Naidu said.

Also read: Pegasus row: As BJP trashes ‘fake news’, Amnesty says it stands by report

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Rajya Sabha was adjourned till 12 pm following an uproar after TMC MP Derek O’Brien made a statement over Sen’s action on Thursday. Naidu expressed concern over the poor performance of the Upper House since the Monsoon Session began. “The only business that could be transacted so far was a 4-hour discussion on COVID-19 issues and the hour-long reply of the concerned minister,” said Naidu.

In his defence, Sen accused Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri of abusing him in the House. The TMC MPs raised slogans, saying they were not happy with the manner in which the suspension motion was brought. They argued that the matter should have been listed in the day’s business.

The Pegasus issue has rocked the house with opposition members are targeting the government for allegedly snooping on politicians, journalists and activists. Parliament proceedings have come to a halt over the charge that the Centre took help of Israeli group NSO and its spyware Pegasus to allegedly tap 300 mobile phone numbers in India. The government has denied the charge.

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