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Mahua Moitra alleges Darshan Hiranandani's affidavit ‘drafted by PMO’, businessman forced to sign ‘letter’

TMC MP Mahua Moitra has questioned the credibility of Darshan Hiranandani and alleged that it was "drafted by the PMO" and the CEO was forced to sign it with "proverbial gun" to his head.

Edited By: Ashesh Mallick @asheshmallick07 New Delhi Published on: October 20, 2023 11:28 IST
Mahua Moitra, TMC
Image Source : PTI TMC MP Mahua Moitra

TMC MP Mahua Moitra has questioned the credibility of Hiranandani Group CEO Darshan Hiranandani's affidavit and alleged that it was “drafted by the PMO” and he was forced to sign it with the threat of a “total shut down" of his family's businesses.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) pointed a “proverbial gun" to the CEO and his father's heads and gave them a deadline of 20 minutes to sign the letter, Mahua claimed in her statement issued late on Thursday night (October 19).

The statement came after Hiranandani, who allegedly bribed Moitra to raise questions in the Parliament on the Adani Group, claimed in a signed affidavit that the TMC MP targeted Gautam Adani to “malign and embarrass" Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

He alleged that Moitra provided him with her Parliament login and password to ask questions targeting Adani.

Moitra’s defence

The TMC MP issued a two-page statement, and claimed that the draft of the “letter” issued by Hiranandani was “sent by the PMO and he was forced to sign it".

"Three days ago (16.10.2023), the Hiranandani Group put out an official press release stating that all charges levelled against them were baseless. Today (19.10.2023), an 'approver affidavit' has been leaked to the press. This 'affidavit' is on a white piece of paper with no letterhead and there is no official origin aside from a press leak. Why would one of India's most respected/educated businessman sign a letter like this on white paper unless a gun was put to his head to do it," she asked.

"The PMO held a proverbial gun to Darshan and his father's heads and gave them 20 minutes to sign this letter sent to them. They were threatened with a total shut down of all their businesses. His father is in real estate which depends on government licenses...," she said.

She said that though it is tragic but “totally understandable” that Hiranandani signed the letter.

"Though tragic, it is totally understandable that Darshan (who is a dear friend) would need to think of what is at stake for him here - namely the continuation of his family businesses built up over decades and the fate of thousands of employees - and buckle under pressure and sign this," she said.

According to paragraph 12 of the affidavit, the TMC MP said, Hiranandani gave in to her demands "because he was fearful of displeasing me".

TMC MP claims CEO's links with PMO

Hiranandani and his father run one of India's largest business groups and their recent projects in Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat have been inaugurated by the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and the prime minister.

The TMC MP said that Hiranandani also accompanied the Prime Minister as part of his business delegation very recently.

"Why would such a wealthy successful businessman who enjoys direct access to every Minister and the PMO be coerced by a first-time opposition MP into giving her gifts and giving into her demands? It is totally illogical and only cements the truth that this letter was drafted by the PMO and not Darshan," she said.

In his affidavit, Hiranandani claimed Moitra "made frequent demands" including "expensive luxury items, providing support on renovation of her officially allotted bungalow in Delhi, travel expenses, holidays, etc., apart from providing secretarial and logistical help for her travels within India and to different parts of the world".

Moitra questioned why did Hiranandani not hold a press conference or post it on X himself and who the affidavit was given to.

He has not even been summoned by any investigative agency or the Ethics Committee yet, she said.

"If indeed he has 'confessed' to this, (then) why is he not releasing it officially rather than through back channel leaks? The truth is exceedingly clear," she said.

Moitra also slams "jilted ex"

Moitra also slammed estranged partner and lawyer Jai Anant Dehadrai who had accused her of taking bribes, and said that he is a “jilted ex” who wants to get back at her.

"This painstaking research on me...He is a jilted ex with an acrimonious personal history with me who wanted to somehow get back at me. If indeed he was witness to all of my corruption, then why was he with me during the time and why did he wait till now to make it public? Also if he wrote to CBI and the LS Speaker, why out of 543 MPs would he forward the letters to Nishikant Dubey, a man who I have repeatedly exposed in Parliament and outside, and against whom I have filed pending privilege motions," she asked.

BJP MP Nishikant Dubey has accused Moitra of taking bribes from a businessman to ask questions in Parliament and urged Speaker Om Birla to constitute an inquiry committee to look into the charges against her.

Birla has referred Dubey's complaint to Parliament's Ethics Committee.

The Delhi High Court is scheduled to hear on Friday Moitra's petition, filed on october 17, seeking directions to restrain Dubey, Dehadrai and several social media platforms and media houses from posting, circulating or publishing any fake and defamatory content against her.

(With PTI inputs)

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