Key ethics committee meeting on Mahua Moitra case today: What we know so far | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Key Lok Sabha Ethics Committee meeting on Mahua Moitra case today: What we know so far

Nov 09, 2023 09:12 AM IST

The Ethics Committee of Lok Sabha headed by BJP MP Vinod Kumar Sonkar will meet on Thursday to adopt its draft report against TMC MP Mahua Moitra.

The Ethics Committee of Lok Sabha will meet on Thursday to adopt a draft report on the cash-for-query allegation against Mahua Moitra amid indications that the panel will recommend the expulsion of the Trinamool Congress MP from the Lok Sabha for allegedly sharing her login credentials with businessman Darshan Hiranandani.

BJP MP Nishikant Dubey and TMC MP Mahua Moitra
BJP MP Nishikant Dubey and TMC MP Mahua Moitra

The ethics committee found amounted to unethical conduct, officials aware of developments said on Wednesday. The committee headed by BJP MP Vinod Kumar Sonkar is meeting later on Thursday to adopt its draft report in what is likely to be hotly contested by opposition members of the panel.

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What we know about Mahua Moitra 'cash-for-query' case so far:

  • BJP MP Nishikant Dubey had approached Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla against Mahua Moitra, accusing her of asking questions in Lok Sabha to target the Adani Group at the behest of businessman Darshan Hiranandani in exchange for gifts.
  • He also claimed that advocate Jai Anant Dehadrai had provided him with proof of alleged bribes.
  • According to the functionaries, Dubey, in his deposition, suggested that Moitra should be suspended immediately pending the investigation, pointing out that this was done in 2005 when 11 MPs were disqualified over cash for query allegations.
  • Moitra has admitted that he used her login details but has rejected any pecuniary considerations, asserting that most MPs share their login credentials with others.
  • Hiranandani, who admitted to gifting Moitra “expensive luxury items”, underwriting the “renovation of her official” bungalow; and posting “questions directly on her behalf” using the Parliament login and password that she provided him with is unlikely to be called to depose as he has already given an affidavit to the consulate general of India in Dubai under Apostille, a method of certifying a document or statement provided or made in a country other than the one where it is to be used.
  • The committee is likely to take a grim view of the charges against Moitra, more so after she accused its chief Vinod Kumar Sonkar of asking filthy and personal questions to her in the last meeting before walking out in a rage along with opposition members.
  • Dehadrai is believed to have been a close friend of Moitra’s before falling out. Opposition MPs questioned the advocate if the custodial battle over Henry, the dog whose ownership is claimed by both Dehadrai and Moitra, was behind his complaint.
  • On November 2, Moitra appeared before the ethics committee over the allegations against her. Along with opposition members of the panel, she "walked out" of the meeting alleging that she had been asked personal questions.
  • Opposition members of the committee also raised questions over the line of questioning and alleged that "personal questions" were posed to the Trinamool Congress MP. BSP MP Danish Ali, Janata Dal (United) MP Giridhari Yadav, and Congress MP Uttam Kumar Reddy were among those who "walked out" of the meeting.
  • On Wednesday, BJP MP Nishikant Dubey claimed that anti-corruption ombudsman Lokpal has ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) based on his complaint in the 'Cash for Query' row. Dubey had on October 21 filed a complaint with the anti-corruption ombudsman Lokpal against Moitra, accusing her of taking bribes to raise questions in Parliament.
  • Responding, Moitra posted on X, “For the media calling me- my answer: 1. CBI needs to first file FIR on 13,000 crore Adani coal scam. 2. National security issue is how dodgy FPI owned (inc Chinese & UAE ) Adani firms buying Indian ports & airports with the Home Minister office's clearance. Then CBI welcome to come, count my shoes.”
  • In a separate post, the TMC MP sarcastically said she was "very happy to know" the Lokpal exists. "Lok Pal Abhi Zinda Hai," she said in another post.
  • There are indications that the committee may make a recommendation against Moitra in its report to Speaker Birla amid a possibility of dissent notes from opposition members.
  • Officials said the panel also suggest that an intense institutional and legal inquiry should be done in a time-bound manner to look into the criminal charges in this case. The 500-page draft report, which was circulated among the members of the 15-member panel on Wednesday evening, is set to be adopted on Thursday in what is likely to be a stormy meeting.

(With inputs from Saubhadra Chatterji in New Delhi and agencies)

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