BJP suspends Ram Jethmalani for 'gross indiscpline'

Ram Jethmalani

Cracking the whip, the BJP today suspended Ram Jethmalani with immediate effect for daring the party to act against him on the CBI chief's appointment issue, saying it was gross indiscpline.

A defiant Jethmalani, an eminent lawyer and Rajya Sabha MP, who had recently demanded party chief Nitin Gadkari's resignation in the wake of charges of alleged dubious funding of the latter's Purti Group, said, "nobody has the guts to take action against me".

Jethmalani invited the BJP wrath after attacking the party for criticising the appointment of new CBI Director Ranjit Sinha.

Addressing a press conference here, BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said Jethmalani had opposed the letter written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh by Sushma Swaraj, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and Arun Jaitley, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, asking him to keep the CBI Director's appointment in abeyance.

"Jethmalani's remarks are meant to help the Congress," Hussain said adding that it was an act of "gross indiscipline".

Hussain said Jethmalani opposing the Swaraj-Jaitley letter to PM and his remarks today in Mumbai that no action can be taken against him has been viewed very seriously.

"BJP President Nitin Gadkari has viewed his remarks and today's statement very seriously," and decided to suspend him from the party with immediate effect, he said.

The BJP Parliamentary Board will meet here tomorrow at 4.30 PM to take forward the suspension process since Jethmalani is a sitting MP.

In Mumbai, Jethmalani said many in the party shared his views, but "few had the capacity" to express their views openly.

He, however, clarified that his views on Sinha's appointment were his own and not of the BJP, where "I am a small person."

"If there is any action taken against me, I will welcome it but I don't think anyone has the guts to take any action against me," he told reporters on the sidelines of a launching of a book written by a city-based journalist.

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