Parliament panel may act against home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi for skipping meet

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NEW DELHI: A sub-committee of Public Accountants Committee has threatened to begin proceedings on breach of privilege of Parliament against home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, accusing him of ‘deliberately skipping’ a meeting of the House panel by ‘misrepresenting’ facts.

PAC insiders said the sub-committee examining actions taken on the Comptroller and Auditor-General report on alleged irregularities in conducting the Commonwealth Games, had asked Mehrishi to appear at Tuesday’s meeting along with senior officers of the CBI, Delhi Development Authority, New Delhi Municipal Corporation, Delhi Police, etc.

Mehrishi said that he would be outside Delhi on Tuesday and not be able to attend Tuesday’s meeting.

However, during the course of Tuesday’s scheduled meeting of the PAC sub-committee, headed by Bhartruhari Mahtab, members asked additional secretary of the ministry of home affairs to present details of Mehrishi’s tour programme, only to be told that the home secretary had cancelled the tour and was present in Delhi on Tuesday to meet Home Minister Rajnath Singh who had returned to Delhi after spending many days in Uttar Pradesh.

This saw Mahtab (BJD) and other subcommittee members such as Nishikant Dubey, Ajay Sancheti, Shivkumar C Udasi (all BJP), Chandrakant Kirtikar Gajanan (Shiv Sena) and P Venugopal (AIADMK) registering their protest over the home secretary’s failure to appear before the panel despite he being present in Delhi. Pointing out that the rest of officials were present at the meeting, the members felt Mehrishi should have attended the meeting since he had cancelled the tour programme. They noted that if the home secretary was at all required to be with his minister for any important meeting at the same time when the panel met the practice had been for the ministry to formally convey the same to the House panel.

Mahtab is learnt to have then told the panel that the committee could contemplate proceeding with contempt and breach of privilege proceedings against Mehrishi for his failing to appear before the PAC sub-committee meeting despite his presence in Delhi. Other members too endorsed the suggestion. They panel will now take up the matter with the Lok Sabha Speaker.