New Delhi, Jul 22 (PTI) Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Shantanu Sen on Thursday alleged that Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri abused him in the Rajya Sabha and was on the verge of physically assaulting him before he was rescued by colleagues.
Sen, who snatched papers from Communications and Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw in the Rajya Sabha and tore them as he was making a statement on the snooping issue, claimed that Puri even rudely gesticulated at him.
Puri has so far not reacted on the issue.
'The union minister (Puri) threatened and abused me. He was about to assault me when my other colleagues came to my rescue,' alleged Sen at a press conference.
Narrating the sequence of events as it unfolded in the Rajya Sabha, TMC Chief Whip Sukhendu Sekhar Ray alleged that the Union communications and information technology minister's statement was full of lies.
He said minutes after Sen snatched the paper from the minister's hands, Vaishnaw was handed over another copy and he continued to read.
Soon after, the House was adjourned but not before the statement was tabled and considered as read.
'The minister's statement was full of contradictions and white lies. So one of our members snatched and tore it,' TMC Chief Whip Sukhendu Sekhar Ray said.
The TMC alleged that after the House was adjourned and the live transmission was stopped, Union Minister Puri gesticulated at Sen ordering him to approach him.
'I was gheraoed by the BJP MPs,' Sen alleged. Union Minister Meenakshi Lekhi condemned the conduct of opposition members in the Rajya Sabha and said it was a 'new low' in India's parliamentary democracy.
Meanwhile, the TMC maintained that it would continue to obstruct Parliament proceedings till the government agrees to a 'structured discussion' on the issue of snooping using Israeli spyware Pegasus.
TMC's Parliamentary party leader Derek O'Brien said not the Union IT minister, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi should reply to the opposition's questions.
'Our straightforward question is, did you or did you not use the Pegasus spyware? We will not allow them to sweep the issue under the carpet,' he said.
TMC Chairperson and West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee is expected to be in Delhi by the evening of July 26 and is scheduled to meet opposition leaders.