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Mahua Moitra's ‘gun on head’ response to Hiranandani's affidavit in ‘cash for query’ row

Oct 20, 2023 10:58 AM IST

In a signed affidavit, Hiranandani admitted to using TMC MP Mahua Moitra's Parliamentary login to ask questions targeting Gautam Adani.

Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra has issued a detailed response to the signed affidavit by businessman Darshan Hiranandani that corroborated BJP legislator Nishikant Dubey's claims about her receiving money and gifts for posing certain questions in Parliament. Moitra expressed scepticism about the document's legitimacy due to the lack of official letterhead and notarization, suggesting that a prominent businessman like Darshan Hiranandani would not typically sign such an important statement on plain white paper without potential external pressure.

Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Mahua Moitra.(ANI)

“The affidavit is on white paper and not on official letterhead or notarised. 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?” the Lok Sabha member said in a statement.

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Calling the content of the letter a “joke”, Moitra further claimed that the affidavit was drafted by “some half-wit in the PMO who doubles up as a creative writer in the BJP's IT cell” as it contained effusive praise for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and billionaire industrialist Gautam Adani while implicating various political opponents and investigative journalists in her alleged corruption.

“Cyril Shroff is Gautam Adani's “samdhi” and was on the SEBI's committee in total conflict of interest. Rahul Gandhi and Shashi Tharoor are both people the government targets relentlessly. Sucheta Dalal is an investigative journalist who is always exposing the government,” she added.

According to Moitra, the leaked affidavit is part of a broader strategy by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government to discredit her and divert attention from pressing concerns related to the Adani Group. She alleged that the government is attempting to intimidate those close to her, including threats of investigations by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

“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,” she wrote, highlighting his business dependency on government licenses and thousands of crores of investments in BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh.

“The draft of this letter was sent by the PMO and he was forced to sign it. And it was leaked to the press immediately. This is in return for the government not doing a CBI investigation or not aggressively attacking their businesses,” the TMC MP claimed.

“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 added.

What Darshan Hiranandani said in affidavit

Darshan Hiranandani, the CEO of real estate-to-energy group Hiranandani, on Thursday said the TMC leader targeted Gautam Adani to "malign and embarass" Prime Minister Narendra Modi whose impeccable reputation gave opposition no opportunity to attack him.

Hiranandani, who confirmed to HT over WhatsApp that he released the statement, admitted that he gave Moitra information on the basis of which she could pose questions attacking the Adani Group; that she received information from others too on this; that he gifted her “expensive luxury items” and underwrote the “renovation of her official” bungalow; and that she provided him with her Parliament login and password so that he could “post the questions directly on her behalf”.

Earlier this week, BJP MP Nishikant Dubey and Moitra's estranged partner and lawyer Jai Anant Dehadrai alleged that Moitra took favours from Hiranandani to raise questions in Parliament.

Dubey's complaint has been referred by the Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to Parliament's Ethics Committee.

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