A Lok Sabha ethics panel has decided to summon TMC MP Mahua Moitra in the ‘Cash-for-Query’ allegations. IT will also send notices to the IT and Home ministries.
Ms Moitra will be summoned on October 31 at 11 am, as the panel agreed that the charges against her are ‘serious.’
Lawyer Jai Anant Dehadrai is recording his statement before the Lok Sabha Ethics Committee, in the first meeting on the cash-for-query charge against Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra.
BJP MP Nishikant Dubey will also record his statement today. Mr Dubey had written to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and levelled cash-for-query allegations against Ms Moitra. The complaint was based on a letter by Supreme Court lawyer Jai Anant Dehadrai, who the Trinamool MP has called her ‘jilted ex.’
The Speaker had referred the matter to the ethics committee.
The Lok Sabha panel is currently hearing from Mr Dehadrai.
The letter claimed to share ‘irrefutable evidence’ of Hiranandani giving bribes to Ms Moitra to ask questions in Parliament.
The questions were allegedly designed to target the Adani Group.
In an affidavit, Mr Hiranandani had alleged that the Trinamool MP had shared her email ID as a Member of Parliament so that he could send her information and she could raise the questions in the Parliament.
He claimed she later gave him her Parliament login and password so that he could post the questions directly.
‘Mahua Moitra wanted to quickly make a name for herself at the national level. She was advised by her friends and advisors that the shortest possible route to fame is by personally attacking PM Narendra Modi,’ Mr Hiranandani alleged in the affidavit.
“Ms Moitra thought that the only way to attack PM Modi is by attacking Gautam Adani as both were contemporaries and belong to the same state of Gujarat,” the affidavit said.
Mr Dubey and Ms Moitra have been slugging it out on social media since the allegations surfaced. The BJP MP also submitted a complaint to the Lokpal, the anti-corruption watchdog and sought an investigation against Ms Moitra.
On Wednesday, Dubey posted on X, formerly Twitter, that the Lokpal has taken note of his complaint
On Tuesday, Information Technology minister Ashwini Vaishnaw wrote to Mr Dubey over the alleged sharing of her parliamentary login by Ms Moitra and said the matter was ‘of grave importance.’
He said the National Informatics Centre would cooperate with the Parliamentary Ethics Committee in investigating the matter.
Ms Moitra has denied the allegations and said she is prepared for any inquiry. She has also said that she is ready to answer questions from the Lok Sabha Ethics Committee.
Neither The Trinamool Congress (TMC) nor its INDIA allies have come out in support of Ms Moitra so far. The TMC has declined to comment on the case.
TMC representative in the Rajya Sabham, Derek O’Brien, has said the party will take an appropriate decision on the allegations against Ms Moitra after the Parliamentary panel completes its investigation.
The Delhi High Court, hearing Mahua Moitra’s defamation suit against BJP MP Nishikant Dubey and Supreme Court lawyer Jai Anant Dehadrai on Friday, said it was ‘appalled’ with the Trinamool Congress MP’s lawyer for asking Dehadrai to withdraw his complaint before the Central Bureau of Investigation in exchange for his pet dog.
The advocate, Gopal Sankaranarayanan, later recused himself from representing the TMC MP in the case.
The court will hear the matter on October 31.
Earlier this week, Moitra filed a defamation suit in the court against Dubey and Dehadrai for accusing her of accepting bribes to ask questions in Parliament.
Jai Anant Dehadrai, Moitra’s estranged partner, today wrote on X that there was an attempt to coerce him into withdrawing his complaint. He said he flatly refused to accept the offer.
‘I’m really appalled. You have been in touch with defendant no 2 (Jai) on aspects touching this matter? So you tried to play the role of a mediator?’ the court asked the senior advocate.
After Jai raised objections, he withdrew himself from the case.
Mahua Moitra responds to Darshan Hiranandani in ‘cash for query’ row
Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra on Thursday night issued a detailed statement in 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.
Hiranandani, who confirmed 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.’
The affidavit also claimed that Moitra provided Hiranandani with her Parliament login and password so that he could ‘post the questions directly on her behalf.’
All of these are charges mentioned, in part or full, in Dubey’s letter, which described the charges as ‘cash for query’ and which was based on a letter written by a lawyer and former friend of Moitra, Jai Anant Dehadrai to Dubey.
What Moitra said in response to the affidavit
‘Three days ago (16.10.2023), the Hiranandani Group put out an official press release stating that all charges leveled 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.
A few questions need to be asked urgently:
1. Darshan Hiranandani has not been summoned by the CBI or the Ethics committee or indeed by any investigative agency yet. Who then has he given this affidavit to?
2. 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?
3. The contents of the letter are a joke. It has clearly been drafted by some half-wit in the PMO who doubles up as a creative writer in the BJP’s IT cell.
It sings paeans to Modi and Gautam Adani while linking in every opponent of theirs to me and my alleged corruption.
Shardul Shroff is the brother of Cyril Shroff who has had a bitter separation of business from him.
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. Clearly someone said ‘Sabh ka naam ghusaa do, aisa mauka phir nahi ayega!’ (include everyone’s name in, there won’t be another opportunity like this)
4. For example, Paragraph 12 claims Darshan gave in to my demands because he was fearful of displeasing me. Darshan and his father run one of India’s largest business groups and their recent projects in UP and Gujarat have been inaugurated by the CM of Uttar Pradesh and by the Prime Minister.
Darshan accompanied the PM abroad 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.
5. Why has Darshan not done a press conference and read this out or tweeted it himself or his company put it out? If indeed he has “confessed” to this why is he not releasing it officially rather than through back channel leaks?
The truth is exceedingly clear.
This BJP government has been waiting to somehow shut me up on the Adani issue desperately.
Jai Dehadrai is not some ‘Supreme Court lawyer’ who has done 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, 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 who I have filed pending privilege motions?
Why were the contents of Jai’s unverified letter leaked by Nishikant immediately to PTI and the contents used to create a media circus before any investigation was done?
Once the ground was laid the BJP moved onto step 2.
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. And he is in energy, data centres and semiconductor chip manufacturing which too depends on government licenses.
He has over 30,000 crore investments in UP alone.
They were told they will be finished, the CBI would raid them and all government business would stop and all PSU bank financing would be stopped immediately.
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.
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.
This is the usual modus operandi of this BJP government or rather Gautam Adani’s government run by the BJP. Every effort is being made to malign me and isolate and scare those near and dear to me.
My closest have been threatened with ED and CBI raids in the next few days. This selective leak of a plea bargain being shown as part of a media circus only reveals how scared and desperate the BJP and Modi are of Adani’s corruption coming out in the open.
This is part of the establishment’s witch hunt into every political leader who dares question Adani. This is the price to pay for standing up to the BJP and Adani. But they cannot scare me.
I will continue to stand up to Mr. Adani until he answers the many questions that he’s duty bound to answer to the people of this great country. And I will pay any price to protect my country from these criminals.’
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