“An educational video” is how Bhagwant Mann of the Aam Aadmi Party or AAP has described his controversial drive-through of parliament. Serving as commentator, Mr Mann revealed the different security checks that national law-makers clear before entering the complex that was targeted by terrorists in 2001. Mr Mann’s foray last week into his version of reality TV has resulted in him being told to skip parliament till a committee of 9 MPs examines his action and recommends a penalty. The committee comprises of one member each from every major opposition party and is headed by Kirit Somaiya of the ruling BJP. The group has reviewed the 12-minute film that was posted by Mr Mann on Facebook. He said he wanted his constituency in Punjab to get a first-hand account of how parliament functions. Mr Mann will testify for the committee on Friday. Though he has expressed remorse, he has also, in a letter to parliament officials, said that if he is guilty of compromising security, so is Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who controversially allowed Pakistani officers including members of its powerful military spy agency ISI to tour the Pathankot Air Force base, which was attacked by Pakistani terrorists at the start of the year. While most members of the investigating committee are reportedly in favour of strict punishment for the 42-year-old, the Trinamool Congress, which governs Bengal, has reportedly asked its representative to go easy on Mr Mann. Sources tell that party chief Mamata Banerjee has asked the Trinamool’s Dr Ratna De to express that “Mann’s intention was not dubious but a little amateurish.” The party says that Mr Mann’s written apology, submitted last week to Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan, amounts to sincere contrition and that “there should not be any political vendetta.” The investigating committee has met with the head of the Delhi Police which manages security in the area outside parliament as well as officers who are in charge of securing the actual building. Parliament’s own security team has reportedly shared that Mr Mann’s video heavily compromised safety processes and that equipment and technology introduced after the 2001 terror attack by the Lashkar-e-Taiba was exposed in his video. Mr Mann’s party has said that he is not guilty of the charges levelled and that other parties are colluding to persecute him because AAP is riding a wave of popularity in Punjab ahead of its election. Party chief Arvind Kejriwal, however, has not commented on the scandal.
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