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'They are asking unethical questions': Mahua Moitra, Opposition MPs walk out of panel meet

Mahua Moitra cash for query case: Mahua Moitra is facing 'cash for query' allegations by Bharatiya Janata Party MP Nishikant Dubey, who alleged that Moitra had allegedly taken bribes from Dubai-based businessman Hiranandani to raise questions in Parliament to target the Adani Group.

Edited By: Sheenu Sharma @20sheenu New Delhi Updated on: November 02, 2023 20:36 IST
Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra walks out of panel
Image Source : ANI Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra walks out of panel meeting

Mahua Moitra cash for query case:  The Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Mahua Moitra today (November 2) appeared before the Lok Sabha Ethics Committee probing the cash for query allegations against her. Mahua Moitra has given her statement before the committee. After lunch, the committee will cross-examine her.  Some MPs from Opposition parties are in favour of Mahua while some are saying that they are not satisfied with Mahua Moitra's statement. 

Moitra and the Opposition MPs walked of the Ethics Committee meeting in a surprise turn of events claiming panel members were asking unethical questions.

"We are not privy to what happened in the meeting, we will take a stand once we get some information," she said.

Moitra wrote to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla saying, "I write to you in great anguish today to update you on the unethical, sordid, and prejudiced behaviour meted out to me at the hearing of the Ethics Committee by the Chairman. I would urge you immediately to give me protection from being subjected to personal humiliation and malicious conduct by the aforesaid under the guise of a purported "Ethics Committee" hearing."

What panel chairman said after meeting

Chairman of Parliament Ethics Committee, Vinod Sonkar said, "Instead of giving answers, she (Mahua Moitra) got angry and used unparliamentary language for the Chairperson, and Committee members. Danish Ali, Girdhari Yadav and other opposition MPs tried to accuse the committee and walked out... The committee will sit and decide the further action."

BJP MP Nishikant Dubey said what happened today is a dark day in parliamentary history.

"...I and Dehadrai went there as witnesses and Mahua Moitra went as an accused. However, she gave interviews and quoted what happened inside the committee of ethics. She tried to set a wrong narrative in the public. What happened today is the darkest day of parliamentary history...," said Dubey.

"They (Opposition MPs) are not able to digest how a person coming from Scheduled Caste became the Chairman of the Ethics Committee," he added.

What BJP MP said after the meet

After the Parliament Ethics Committee meeting, BJP MP Aparajita Sarangi said, "The proceedings of the Parliamentary Standing Committee are confidential by nature. So the very thing that she (TMC MP Mahua Moitra) did was wrong. They all came out and they all said things about the committee, about the goings on within the committee, it was wrong. She should not have done that. These things are very confidential. The conduct of Mahua Moitra was condemnable. She used unparliamentary words for our chairman and for all the members of the committee. So, the chairperson of the Committee was asking questions regarding the contents of the affidavit by Hiranandani and she did not want to answer them. And then they created a ruckus.."

During the questioning, Mahua kept speaking about her personal life,which was not connected to the main issue of the committee, said the sources.

Sources - Mahua Moitra has given her statement before the committee. After lunch the committee will cross examine him. Some MPs from opposition parties are in favor of Mahua. Many MPs say that they are not satisfied with Mahua's statement. 

Letter to committee:

On Wednesday (November 1), she shared a copy of the letter written by her to the panel.

Mahua Moitra, who has been at the centre of a political storm after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Nishikant Dubey wrote to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla alleging she took bribes from businessman Darshan Hiranandani to target the Adani Group, will appear before the panel on Thursday (November 2).

As per sources, Mahua Moitra's account was accessed around 47 times from Dubai and she has at least 14 unaccounted overseas visits. 

TMC MP Mahua Moitra's letter to Ethics Committee:

Posting the two-page letter on her X handle, Moitra said, "Since Ethics Committee deemed it fit to release my summons to the media I think it is important I too release my letter to the Committee before my hearing tomorrow".

In the letter, Moitra said shared that she will appear before the panel on November 2 and will demolish the complaint of cash-for-query against her. She stated in the letter that parliamentary committees lack criminal jurisdiction and emphasised the importance of involving law enforcement agencies in such cases.

Moitra also expressed her desire to cross-examine alleged bribe-giver, Hiranandani, who submitted an affidavit to the committee without offering substantial evidence. The Lok Sabha MP also sought to cross-examine the complainant, Jai Anant Dehadral, who she claimed provided no documentary evidence to support the charges.

"In light of the seriousness of the allegations, it is imperative that the alleged bribe-giver Darshan Hiranandani, who has given a suo-moto affidavit to the Committee with scant details and no documentary evidence whatsoever, be called to depose before the Committee and provide the said evidence in the form of a documented itemised inventory with amounts, date etc," she said.

"I wish to place on record that in keeping with the principles of natural justice I wish to exercise my right to cross-examine Hiranandani," she said.

Mahua highlights 'absence' of structured Code of Conduct for members:

Moitra highlighted that an inquiry without allowing her the opportunity to cross-examine would be incomplete and unfair. Highlighting the absence of a structured Code of Conduct for members, she emphasised the need for objectivity and fairness in addressing individual cases and avoiding political partisanship in the committee.

Moitra also raised concerns about what she claimed were double standards of the Ethics Committee in issuing a summons. She said the panel has adopted a very different approach in the case of BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri who has a very serious complaint of hate speech pending against him with the Privileges and Ethics branch.

Bidhuri was summoned on October 10 (Tuesday) to provide oral evidence but he expressed his inability to depose as he was away campaigning in Rajasthan, she said.

Know more about cash for query case:

Mahua Moitra is facing 'cash for query' allegations by Bharatiya Janata Party MP Nishikant Dubey, who alleged that Moitra had allegedly taken bribes from Dubai-based businessman Hiranandani to raise questions in Parliament to target the Adani Group.

Dubey also wrote a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, titled "Re-emergence of nasty 'Cash for Query' in Parliament", seeking a probe into the matter. He also claimed that Advocate Jai Anant Dehadrai had provided him with proof of alleged bribes.

The BJP MP and the complainant Dehadrai had appeared before the Lok Sabha Ethics Committee on October 26 to provide oral evidence. The Committee, hearing the matter, also asked Moitra to appear on October 31. Later, she requested a hearing date after November 5 citing pre-scheduled programmes but was denied an extension beyond November 2. 

(With agencies inputs) 

ALSO READ:​ Cash-for-Query case: Lok Sabha committee calls Mahua Moitra on November 2, says 'no further...'

ALSO READ: Mahua Moitra seeks fresh date from Lok Sabha ethics panel over summons on 'cash-for-query' charges

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