Member of Parliament Abhishek Manu Singhvi withdrew one of his listed questions for the Rajya Sabha house scheduled for Thursday, the 16th of December, pertaining to the government’s stance on online gambling and betting. The incident took place after it was brought to light that the MP had recently been involved in the role of a senior advocate in the appeal against Karnataka’s ban on online games involving real money, as reported by the Indian Express.
Mr. Singhvi had enlisted a starred question, implying it would have to be answered orally on the floor of the house rather than by submitting a written statement. The three-pronged query was directed towards the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, asking: A. The details of the advisory issued by the Ministry on advertisements on fantasy sports; B. The reasons for not making any differentiation between games of skills and games of chance in it; C. The policy position of the Ministry on these categories.
However, just a month ago, the statesman had represented Gameskraft Technologies Pvt Ltd. in their petition’s hearing as a part of the All India Gaming Federation against the State of Karnataka. The November 11 appearance at the Karnataka High Court saw him argue that online fantasy games are skill based rather than games of chance, thus making the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Act 2021 constitutionally invalid.
Mr. Singhvi denied any conflict of interest when questioned on the matter, stating he had been a part of such hearings for rummy platforms for nearly a decade and had had multiple appearances at the High Courts and Supreme Court.
“I have given seven reasons earlier, each of which I reiterate without repetition, which show there was absolutely no conflict of interests, either in fact or intended or remotely thought of. I repeat them herein without restating them. Nevertheless, to obviate attempts to sensationalise or distort, I thought it fit to withdraw the question in question. Nothing more nothing less,” he was reported saying.
Even so, Mr. Singhvi eventually delisted his question from the Rajya Sabha proceedings.