The Lok Sabha Ethics Panel on Friday tabled the report recommending the expulsion of Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Mahua Moitra. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP and Ethics Committee chairperson Vinod Kumar laid on the table the first Report (Hindi and English versions) of the Committee on Ethics.
The Ethics Committee, which investigated the allegations made by BJP MP Nishikant Dubey, adopted its 500-page report on November 9 recommending Moitra’s expulsion from the 17th Lok Sabha in view of her “highly objectionable, unethical, heinous and criminal conduct.”
The draft report was adopted by a 6:4 majority in the panel last month.
Six members of the panel voted in favour of the report, including Congress MP Preneet Kaur who had earlier been suspended from the party. Four members of the panel belonging to opposition parties submitted dissent notes.
Mahua Moitra can be expelled only if the House votes in favour of the panel’s recommendation.
BJP MP Nishikant Dubey has alleged that TMC MP Mahua Moitra had taken payment frob Businessman Darshan Hiranandani to raise questions in Parliament about the Adani Group. It has been alleged that Mahua Moitra shared her Lok Sabha credentials with Hiranandani to pose questions against the Adani Group.
What is Cash-for-Question case against Mahua Moitra?
Mahua Moitra was alleged to have taken cash and gifts from industrialist Darshan Hiranandani in exchange for Parliament login using which Hiranandani posted questions against Gautam Adani and the Adani Group. The complaint was first brought by advocate Jai Anant Dehadrai.
BJP MP Nishikant Dubey forwarded Jai Anant’s complaint to the Lok Sabha Speaker. The issue was transferred to the ethics committee which after questioning Nishikant Dubey, Jai Anant Dehadrai and Mahua Moitra recommended Mahua Moitra’s expulsion. The ethics committee report was taken up by the Lok Sabha on Friday and Mahua Moitra got expelled.
Mahua blasts Modi Government for ‘harsh’ decision
It has been claimed that Mahua Moitra was not allowed to speak in the Lok Sabha during the debate despite the Trinamool’s request to make her the speaker on behalf of the party during the debate.
After the voting which was in favour of Mahua Moitra’s expulsion, the Trinamool leader read out her statement outside the Lok Sabha which she came prepared with. Reiterating that it was the conduct of a kangaroo court, Mahua Moitra said there was no evidence of cash. Darshan Hiranandani was not heard by the ethics committee either, Mahua Moitra said.
“There was no evidence of any cash, any gifts anywhere. The recommendation of expulsion was solely based on the complaint that I shared my login. But there is no rule whatsoever in this regard,” Mahua Moitra said.
Reacting sharply to her expulsion, Mahua Moitra equated the action with hanging by a “kangaroo court” and alleged a parliamentary panel was being weaponised by the government to force the opposition into submission.
She told reporters that she has 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.
Opposition attacks Modi Govt, called in ‘Death of Democracy’
Mahua Moitra’s expulsion became a rallying point for the opposition as Sonia Gandhi stood behind her when she read out her statement after Mahua Moitra was expelled. During the debate, Congress Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said it was not humanely possible to read the lengthy report in only two hours.
Trinamool Chief Mamata Banerjee said injustice has been done to Mahua. “I don’t understand how only half an hour can be given to all parties to read a 495-page report and then debate. I congratulate the INDIA alliance, we all are united. The party is fully supporting Mahua’s case. She is election by the people and represents women and the younger generation. How they betray democracy! They did not allow Mahua to take her own stand,” West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said.
Trinamool MP Kalyan Banerjee claimed that the House does not have the power to remove her as a member. Even Moitra said, “The Ethics Committee has no power to expel (her)…You have assumed the powers of the quasi-judicial authority and imposed a penalty on me that you have no power to do.”
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Friday said if the method used to expel opposition MPs from the Parliament is applied on the ruling party, it will leave them with only a handful MPs in both Houses.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Rajya Sabha MP Sandeep Pathak extended support to TMC MP Mahua Moitra after she was expelled from the Lok Sabha on Friday, saying that she was “trapped.”
On the other hand, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said that this isn’t an issue related to women, adding that Moitra admitted receiving gifts (from Darshan Hiranandani).