Bhubaneswar: Embroiled in a sex scandal, Orissa's Revenue Minister and senior BJP leader Manmohan Samal on Friday faced embarrassing moments in the state assembly as the entire opposition boycotted him for his alleged escapades.
Though the opposition members had moved an adjournment motion on the death of 15 labourers in stone quarry cave-in mishap in Jajpur district last month, they walked out of the house boycotting the Minister when he was about to speak.
As soon as Samal got up, members belonging to Congress, CPI, CPI(M) and JMM walked out saying that they had decided to boycott all proceedings involving Samal in the House.
As a result, the opposition-piloted motion could not be taken up when they themselves kept away from the proceedings only to return when the next item on agenda was called.
The opposition parties had been demanding resignation of the Revenue Minister in the wake of reports in some Oriya dailies about his alleged involvement in sexual escapade at a state government guest house in Delhi last month.
They had claimed that Samal's alleged involvement in sex scandal had brought disrepute to the state and lowered the dignity of the august House.
While admitting that he had extended help to a woman from his constituency for her stay at Orissa Niwas in Delhi and in contacting guests for a cultural function, the Minister had refuted allegation about his involvement in sexual escapade.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, making a statement on the matter in the House on December 3, also admitted that Samal had visited Orissa Niwas, where the woman was staying, two to three times, but maintained "nothing untoward" had occurred.
The Chief Minister also had asked the opposition members to produce evidence in support of their charge.
A bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and Rekha Sharma, which passed the judgement had, however, refrained from staying the construction activity, but made it clear that any structure which has been built or to be constructed would be subject to its final order.
The High Court turned down the plea of the government and the construction company which pleaded for approval of the project on the ground that large scale investment has already been made.
"We had made amply clear that if despite the pendent writ petitions, the respondents or any other person were raising construction or were creating third party interests they were doing so at their own peril," the Bench had said.
The High Court then went on to appoint a four-member committee, headed by environmental scientist R K Pachauri, to carry out an assessment of the impact on environment due to the ongoing construction.
The construction work of the village project and Metro work is spread over 70 acres in east Delhi out of which 27.5 acres land is being used by EMMAR MGF for constructing over 1,100 flats by April 2010, well in time for the Games later that year.
Out of the total number of flats, two-thirds will be handed over to the government while the remaining will be owned by the company.
The High Court's direction came on the plea of environmental activists alleging that the ongoing construction on Yamuna river-bed would disturb the ecological balance.