Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday suspended about half a dozen members of Parliament caught on camera purportedly taking bribes for raising questions in the House.
Bahujan Samajwadi Party suspended three of its members with immediate effect who were caught on camera purportedly taking bribes for raising questions in Parliament.
After a meeting with senior party leaders and consultations with former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, BJP president Lal Kishenchand Advani also announced an internal inquiry into the television expose.
Describing the expose as a matter of grave concern, Advani, who is also leader of the opposition, said he had spoken to Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee on the issue and told him it was a serious issue.
He said that based on the party's internal inquiry, 'if necessary, we will refer it to the Privileges Committee'.
Advani said office bearers have spoken to some of the MPs allegedly involved in the scam. "When the whole country is debating probity in public life, our own MPs have been charged with showing greed for raising questions in Parliament," he said.
"The party has taken the development very seriously. It is not only related to political crime, but also raises question on moral corruption. The BSP has decided to suspend its three MPs with immediate effect from the party," BSP chief Mayawati told reporters.
She said the party has also despatched notices to all the three MPs -- Narendra Kumar Kushwaha, Lal Chandra and Raja Ram Pal -- asking them to clarify their viewpoint on the matter.
Asked as to against how many MPs, the party has taken action, Advani said he was not aware of the exact details, but 'a decision has been taken in principle with regard to all of them'.
The MPs shown on TV taking bribes were BJP Lok Sabha members M K Anna Patil (Erandol-Maharashtra) Y G Mahajan (Jalgoan-Maharashtra), Pradip Gandhi (Rajnandgao-Chattisgarh) and Suresh Chandel (Hamirpur-Himachal Pradesh). Congress MP Ram Sevak Singh (Gwalior), Rashtriya Janata Dal MP Manoj Kumar (Palamau-Jharkhand) and Bahujan Samaj Party MPs Narendra Kumar Kushwaha (Mirzapur-UP) and Lal Chandra (Robertsganj-UP), Raja Ram Pal (Balhour-UP) and BJP Rajya Sabha MP from Orissa Chatra Pal Singh Lodha were also shown accepting money.
Efforts to get the reaction of the parliamentarians did not fructify. In some cases there was no response to calls made while in others their aides said they were not in town.
This is the first time parliamentarians are caught on camera accepting bribes to raise questions.
Meanwhile, the Congress party also suspended its MP from Gwalior Ram Sewak Singh for taking money purportedly for raising questions in the House.
"Even though there are six BJP MPs caught on camera doing what they should not be doing -- illegal gratification acceptance, and of other parties, the Congress did not waste even a single minute to suspend our MP," All India Congress Committee general secretary Ambika Soni told reporters.