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Noose tightens against pepper spray MP

Friday, 21 February 2014 | Pramod Kumar Singh | New Delhi

The Delhi Police on Thursday took cognisance of the complaint filed by  Ponnam Prabhakar, a Member of Parliament (MP) from the Karimnagar Lok Sabha  against Lagadapati Rajagopal, the Congress MP from Vijayawada Lok Sabha constituency, who had caused mayhem inside the Lok Sabha on February 13 last by spraying pepper on fellow MPs during discussion on Telangana Bill.

The MP is going to be booked under Sections 324/326 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) on charges of voluntarily causing hurt and grievous hurt by any instrument.

The FIR will be registered at the Parliament Street Police station against Congress MP Rajagopal from Seemandhra after examining the legal aspects. The matter that caused lots of consternation among the MPs and the political class was later referred to the Privileges Committee by the Speaker.

The proceedings of the Lok Sabha were disrupted after MPs ran helter skelter to save themselves from the deadly spray and some of the MPs needed immediate medical attention. Many MPs had demanded arrest of Rajagopal, one of the richest MPs of the Congress with a declared asset of Rs 122 crore. Rajagopal considered being close to former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajsekhara Reddy has emerged as a strong voice against the creation of Telangana as a new State.

It was an act of violence and Rajagopal knew the consequences that he was using pepper spray than could cause breathing trouble and burning sensation in the eyes of the MPs, sources in Delhi Police said. A senior police official confirmed the receipt of complaint by the Congress MP Prabhakar against his own party MP Rajagopal. Interestingly both the MPs hail from erstwhile Andhra Pradesh and Rajagopal’s act appeared to be a premeditated one as he came prepared with the pepper spray in his bag. He was also accused of showing a knife to deter the MPs from indulging in discussion in the lower house of the parliament. Rajagopal later clarified that he had uprooted the mike and he never brandished a knife.

Investigations into the controversial action of the Congress MP had begun after Delhi Police was informed over telephone by Privileges Committee office of the Lok Sabha. Rajagopal is reported to have tendered his resignation on Tuesday and that was accepted by the Speaker Meira Kumar. When asked whether Rajagopal faces arrest, a top Delhi Police official said that penal action will be initiated against Rajagaopal and he will have to face the law.

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