Controversial Bharatiya Janata Party MP Babubhai Katara, allegedly involved in the infamous human trafficking case, was expelled from the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, taking the total number of members axed in the current term to a record 11.
Katara, representing Dohad (ST) seat in Gujarat, was shown the door after the House adopted a resolution expelling him, a day after a Lok Sabha panel recommended his removal for "grave misconduct".
Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee moved a resolution which held that Katara had "committed an act of grave misconduct which has brought disrepute to and maligned the image of the entire fraternity of legislators."
Mukherjee as well as Speaker Somnath Chatterjee remarked that it was a "most unpleasant job" but the image of Parliament has to be protected.
"This is the most unpleasant job... but this duty has to be discharged. It is my misfortune that I had to move such motions on several occasions. One has to be extra careful to protect the image of this great institution," Mukherjee said.
His remark was an obvious reference to the cash-for-query scam which resulted in the sacking of as many as ten members of the House, an unprecedented development in the annals of Parliament.
Sharing Mukherjee's sentiments, the Speaker said it was unfortunate that there were "slippages in our conduct" and "we have to rise to the occasion" and added that "we are not targeting any member."
Katara was caught at the Delhi airport in April last year allegedly trying to illegally take a woman and a boy abroad on the passports of his wife and son.
The Speaker had asked the committee to inquire into misconduct of members of the Lok Sabha, headed by senior Congress MP V Kishore Chandra Deo, to go into the matter.
The panel in its report said, "making a fake diplomatic passport in his wife's name can have no motive other than to indulge in human trafficking" and held that "he needs to be meted out the severest of punishments."
Lamenting that Katara's conduct was a "far cry from the virtues" expected of MPs, the report said "to say that the conduct of Katara was unbecoming, would be putting it rather too mildly".
The committee pointed out that Katara was given three opportunities to appear before it for giving his oral evidence but he did not come, citing health grounds.
Incidentally, BJP had already sought his expulsion for voting against the party line and in favour of the UPA government during the July 22 trust vote.