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Mahua Moitra moves Supreme Court against her expulsion from Lok Sabha over 'cash-for-query' allegations

Mahua Moitra expulsion: On 8 December, Trinamool Congress leader Mahua Moitra was expelled from the Lok Sabha for ‘unethical conduct’ following a heated debate over the panel report during which Moitra was not allowed to speak.

Ajeet Kumar Edited By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 New Delhi Updated on: December 11, 2023 13:59 IST
Trinamool Congress leader Mahua Moitra
Image Source : PTI Trinamool Congress leader Mahua Moitra

Mahua Moitra expulsion: Days after Trinamool Congress leader Mahua Moitra was expelled from Lok Sabha over 'cash-for-query' allegations, she approached the Supreme Court on Monday to challenge her expulsion. On 8 December, she was expelled from the Lok Sabha for ‘unethical conduct’. 

After a heated debate over the panel report during which Moitra was not allowed to speak, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi moved a motion to expel the Trinamool member for "unethical conduct", which was adopted by a voice vote.

Moitra equated the action with hanging by a "kangaroo court" 

Reacting sharply to her expulsion, Moitra equated the action with hanging by a "kangaroo court" and alleged that a parliamentary panel was being weaponised by the government to force the opposition into submission. She told reporters that she had been found guilty of breaching a code of ethics that does not exist and that there was no evidence of cash or gift given to her.

The Ethics Committee report found Moitra guilty of "unethical conduct" and contempt of the House by sharing her Lok Sabha credentials -- User ID and Password of Lok Sabha Member's Portal, with unauthorised persons which had an irrepressible impact on national security, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said. The Committee also recommended that in view of the "highly objectionable, unethical, heinous and criminal conduct" of Moitra, an intense, legal and institutional inquiry be initiated by the government in a time-bound manner.

Joshi alleged Moitra accepted gifts from a businessman

The motion moved by Joshi said that Moitra’s "conduct has further been found to be unbecoming as an MP for accepting gifts and illegal gratification from a businessman to further his interest which is a serious misdemeanour and highly deplorable conduct" on her part.

Joshi urged the House to accept the recommendation and finding of the committee and "resolve that continuance of Moitra as member of Lok Sabha is untenable and she may be expelled from the membership of the Lok Sabha".

Trinamool Congress and other opposition members demanded that Moitra be allowed to put her views in the House, which was turned down by Speaker Om Birla citing past precedence.    

Birla observed that in 2005, the then Speaker Somnath Chatterjee had in a directive disallowed 10 Lok Sabha members, who were involved in a 'cash for questions' scam, to speak in the House.  

Joshi also said in 2005 the then Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee had moved a motion to expel 10 members on the same day the report was introduced in the Lok Sabha.    

Noting that it was a very "painful day" for the House as well as for him as its presiding officer, Birla said, "but at times we do face such difficult moments when this House has to take tough decisions to fulfil its duties to the House itself and the nation."

Earlier, Ethics Committee Chairman Vinod Kumar Sonkar tabled the first report of the panel on the complaint filed by BJP MP Nishikant Dubey against Moitra.        In October, Dubey, based on a complaint by Supreme Court lawyer Jai Anant Dehadrai, alleged that Moitra had asked questions in Lok Sabha in exchange for cash and gifts from businessman Darshan Hiranandani to attack industrialist Gautam Adani and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.    

In an affidavit to the Ethics Committee on October 19, Hiranandani claimed that Moitra provided him with her login ID and password for the Lok Sabha members’ website. CBI has already filed a preliminary FIR in the case.    

Mamata calls Moitra's expulsion a murder of democracy

Denouncing Moitra's expulsion from Lok Sabha, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said it was a "murder of democracy".

"It is a disgrace to parliamentary democracy. We condemn the expulsion of Mahua Moitra; the party stands firmly with her. Unable to defeat us in elections, the BJP has resorted to vendetta politics. Today marks a sad day and a betrayal of Indian parliamentary democracy," Banerjee said during a press conference in Darjeeling.

(With inputs from agency)

Also Read: Mamata Banerjee criticises BJP, labels Mahua Moitra's Lok Sabha expulsion as 'disgrace'

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