More time given to probe Mann  video, AAP calls it ‘witch-hunt’

New Delhi : Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on Wednesday gave a Lok Sabha panel two more weeks to probe a controversial video filmed by AAP MP Bhagwant Singh Mann. The AAP dubbed it an ‘unprecedented witch-hunt’.

Mahajan also told the Lok Sabha that Mann, a confidant of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, had been told not to attend the house until the committee took a decision on him.

The extension given to the nine-member committee follows a request from its head, BJP’s Kirit Somaiya. “In view of the seriousness of the matter, Mann is asked not to attend the house till a decision is taken,” Mahajan said.

The Aam Aadmi Party said the Bharatiya Janata Party in particular had gone on a witch-hunt against Mann for alleged breach of Parliament security. “All the MPs of the ruling coalition are trying to corner Mann. This is an unprecedented witch-hunt against our MP,” AAP leader Ashish Khetan told the media.

“Is Mann a criminal? Is he a terrorist? Has he done such a big crime that the probe committee needs two more weeks to investigate the issue?” Khetan asked.

Khetan pointed out that Mann, elected to the Lok Sabha from Sangrur in Punjab, had apologized in Parliament for filming a part of the house after scores of MPs denounced the video he posted on Facebook. “The matter should have ended there,” the AAP leader added.

Khetan said the BJP was trying to suppress Mann’s voice because he raised important issues in Parliament. “It is shameful that there is no discussion on atrocities on Dalits, on corruption, on price rice… All the attention is diverted to our MP,” the AAP leader added.

Meanwhile, the panel probing Mann’s video said there were contradictions in the MP’s stand on the issue.

“(We) gave four opportunities to Mann to explain his stand. But there are contradictions. We are certainly taking a serious view of it,” Somaiya told reporters.

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