Delhi, India, October 27, 2023: Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Mahua Moitra has been accused of “asking questions in Parliament in exchange for cash and gifts” from a businessman. The complaint was made by BJP MP Nishikant Dubey in the Lok Sabha.
Nishikant Dubey has hauled Moitra before the House Ethics Committee, acussing her of taking bribes from businessman Darshan Himanandani in exchange for asking questions against the Adani Group and Narendra Modi.
In the letter, Dubey claimed that of Moitra’s recent 61 questions, 50 “shockingly seek information, with the intent of protecting or perpetuating business interests of Shri Darshan Hiranandani and his company. The questions were also often focused on the Adani Group, another business conglomerate Hiranandani Group was bidding for business against.”
Darshan Hiranandani, in the affidavit, claimed that Moitra had shared her Parliament Login credentials with him.
In his letter, Dubey said the case resembled of 2005 cash-for-questions scam and Moitra should be similarly probed and suspended.
What Scam Dubey Is Talking About?
Citing a report from Indian Express, during the first term of the UPA government led by Manmohan Singh, Cobrapost, a digital portal disclosed a sting operation- titled Operation Duryodhana- netting MPs, who allegedly showed willingness to promote a company and ask questions in the House in exchange of money.
Cobrapost claimed the investigation was spread over eight months, and involved 56 videos, 70 audiotapes, and 900 phone calls. It said its journalists Aniruddha Bahal and Suhasini Raj had posed as representatives of a “fictitious lobbying organisation called the North Indian Small Manufacturers Association (NISMA)” and “penetrated the nexus operating between MPs and their middlemen and succeeded in having MPs, across party lines, submit more than 60 questions in the rigorous question balloting system of the Indian Parliament, out of which 25 (at last count) were selected”.
On December 12, 2005, Aaj Tak TV channel aired video footage from the sting, allegedly showing the MPs accepting money.
Accused, Moitra hits back at Dubey by sending a defamation notice to Dubey, Dehadrai, and several media houses that reported Dubey’s claims.
The defamation notice states that Moitra recently questioned Dubey’s educational qualifications and claims he made on his election affidavit.
The allegations are based on information provided by lawyer Jai Anand Dehadrai which was later confirmed by Hiranandani.
As per PTI, Dehadrai is said to be an estranged partner of Moitra with whom he has a bitter feud running over the custody of their pet dog.
The controversy continues to unravel, the complaint has been taken up by the Lok Sabha Ethics Committee and it holds its first meeting on Thursday.
In a nearly three-hour-long proceeding, the committee heard both BJP MP Nishikant Dubey and lawyer Jai Anand Dehadrai and discussed every aspect of it.
Vinod Shonkar, chairman of the ethics committee, told reporters that they have sent letters to the Information Technology Ministry. And the Home Ministry seeking details on key aspects.
"We heard the lawyer and Nishikant Dubey ji. Taking note of the seriousness of the allegations, we have decided to summon Mahua Moitra on Tuesday. She should come and present her side of the matter," Mr Sonkar told reporters after the ethics committee proceeding ended
Moitra has denied the allegations and said she is prepared for any inquiry.
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