Vol. 5 Num 558 Wed. December 21, 2005  

7 more Indian MPs caught in camera
Speaker asks them not to attend House

The Speaker of Lok Sabha Somnath Chatterjee yesterday asked seven lawmakers not to attend the House pending an inquiry after they were caught in a sting operation by a television news channel highlighting corruption in awarding projects for the Member of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) scheme.

An anguished Chatterjee voiced concern over lawmakers being caught in video exposing corruption and asked the members of parliament not to "tarnish the image of the House any more."

He also asked the seven MPs to give their statement to a parliamentary committee set up to probe an earlier sting operation by Aaj Tak news channel and a website last week that showed 11 lawmakers accepting money for raising questions in parliament.

The sting operation conducted by Star News-Detective Intelligence Guild showed seven members of parliament accepting money or offer for money to allot projects to chosen individuals under the MPLAD scheme funds, which is provided by the government. Of the seven lawmakers caught in the latest sting operation focussing on MPLAD scheme, three belong to main opposition BJP, one each to Congress, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and a small regional outfit Rashtriya Kranti Dal. Five of them are members of Lok Sabha.

The sting operation showed Congress MP from Goa Churchill Alemao, who is a former chief minister of the state, asking the sting operation's undercover reporters to open a bag full of money as commission for a project under MPLAD scheme.

The operation also shows the personal secretary of a BJP MP taking money on behalf of two lawmakers belonging to the party. One of these two lawmakers was also caught on camera by the earlier sting operation "cash-for-questions" last week.

Star News released on Monday night the transcripts and even descriptions of the meeting with the seven Mps.