Gutkha scam issue rocks Assembly, DMK wants minister to go

The alleged payment of bribes to a Tamil Nadu Minister and officials for sale of banned gutkha rocked the state assembly on Wednesday with the DMK leading an opposition walkout after being denied permission to raise it.

They staged a walkout after Speaker P Dhanpal denied permission, saying that he could not allow a debate based on what appeared in newspapers and television channels. The Congress MLAs and a lone member of the Indian Union Muslim League also walked out.

Citing Income-Tax report, which had confirmed that the bribes were given to top officials and Minister and that the Tamil Nadu government was yet to take a decision on it,Leader of the Opposition and DMK Working President M K Stalinand other DMK Members, displaying the copies of the newspaper reports on the alleged bribery, sought to raise the issue during Zero Hour.

Dhanapal halted Stalin from speaking further, saying he cannot speak in the house based on news reports. This led to the walkout by the DMK, the main opposition party in the assembly.

Later, talking to reporters outside the Assembly, Stalin demanded the removal of Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar, alleging that he had a role in the sale of gutkha and pan products.

“But Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami will not take action against him because he himself is facing charges in connection with bribing voters in the R.K. Nagar bypoll,” Stalin said.