Oct 032012
 


New Delhi: Politicians A Raja and Suresh Kalmadi may have recently spent about a year in jail each, but both men, who are Lok Sabha MPs, have been nominated to important parliamentary committees. Mr Kalmadi was suspended by the Congress last year after he was arrested for corruption. His party said that it did not nominate him to the Committee on External Affairs; sources say Mr Kalmadi asked to be part of the group, and that the Congress did not object. The decision was made by the Lok Sabha secretariat, which handles the administration of the Lower House. Its officials point out that all serving parliamentarians have the right to serve on such panels.

Meanwhile, Mr Raja is now the DMK’s representative on the parliamentary group that studies Energy.Parliamentary standing committees examine bills and give suggestions for proposed legislation to the relevant ministries.

Mr Raja is being tried for criminal conspiracy, cheating and breach of trust by a public servant – a charge that carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. As Telecom Minister, he allegedly sold under-priced licences for mobile networks to ineligible companies. Through his trial, his party has stood by him. DMK chief M Karunanidhi, who mentored Mr Raja, has said the party believes in his innocence.

The Congress has been less explicit in its backing of Mr Kalmadi so far. He was suspended by the party after he was arrested in April 2011 and put in Tihar Jail, where Mr Raja was also stationed.

As the man in charge of the Commonwealth Games held in Delhi in 2010, Mr Kalmadi allegedly presided over a network of venal officials, who signed inflated contracts with firms. Mr Kalmadi was jailed for a deal with a Swiss company that was hired for time-keeping and scoring equipment. He was granted bail in January this year.

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