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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 05 March 2024

Cash-for-query row: Ethics panel report on Mahua Moitra set to be tabled in Lok Sabha today

If the House votes in favour of the resolution recommending Moitra’s expulsion, it would mark the end of the Trinamul leader’s stint in the current Lok Sabha

Our Special Correspondent New Delhi Published 08.12.23, 05:08 AM
Mahua Moitra outside Parliament on Wednesday.

Mahua Moitra outside Parliament on Wednesday. PTI picture.

The report of the Lok Sabha Ethics Committee in the “cash-for-query” case against Trinamul MP Mahua Moitra is set to be tabled in the Lok Sabha on Friday along with a resolution recommending her expulsion, sources have said.

If the House votes in favour of the resolution recommending Moitra’s expulsion, it would mark the end of the Trinamul leader’s stint in the current Lok Sabha, whose term expires in less than six months. The likelihood of the resolution being passed is high since the BJP commands a brute majority in the lower House.

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The revised list of business of the Lok Sabha for Friday, uploaded late on Thursday, had the ethics panel report on the agenda at No. 7.

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Thursday called Trinamul’s House leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay to his chamber and informed him that the Ethics Committee report would be tabled in the House on Friday afternoon, an apparent attempt to get a sense of the Opposition’s position on it, according to the sources.

Sudip was learnt to have told Birla that Trinamul and other Opposition parties want a proper discussion on the report, therefore enough time should be allotted. Birla is said to have informed Sudip that only 30 minutes had been allotted for the report.

“Half an hour is too little. Our leader told the Speaker that more time is needed since apart from Moitra, who rightfully should be allowed to speak and defend herself, other Opposition leaders too want to speak on the issue,” a Trinamul MP said. The Speaker heard Sudip’s plea but refrained from giving any assurance on extending the time allotment.

After the report is tabled, it will be followed by voting on a resolution recommending the expulsion of the Trinamul MP. “If the report is tabled, we will insist on a full-fledged discussion as the draft report was adopted in minutes,” BSP member Danish Ali, who is a member of the Ethics Committee, told reporters.

The Ethics Committee headed by BJP lawmaker Vinod Sonkar had adopted the report recommending Moitra’s expulsion on November 9 after 6 members of the 11-member panel had voted in favour.

Four members belonging to the Opposition parties had submitted dissent notes.

The report was scheduled to be tabled on the first day of the ongoing winter session on Monday but was dropped at the last moment, apparently because the BJP didn’t want to spoil the jubilatory mood over the electoral victories in states.

BJP MP Nishikant Dubey had accused Moitra of taking cash to ask questions in the Lok Sabha and written to Speaker Birla seeking an inquiry in October. The Speaker had swiftly handed over the case to the Ethics Committee for an inquiry. Earlier, Moitra had accused Dubey of obtaining fake degrees and sought an inquiry.

Dubey had used the complaint of a Supreme Court lawyer, Jai Anant Dehadrai, to the CBI to claim that there was “irrefutable evidence” against Moitra taking cash from businessman Darshan Hiranandani to ask questions in Parliament to target the Adani group and Modi. Moitra had called Dehadrai her “jilted ex”.

Dubey had in his complaint claimed that Mahua had given her Parliament login ID to Hiranandani to post questions on her behalf. Though the Trinamul MP admitted she had given her Parliament login ID to her “businessman friend”, she firmly denied taking cash from him. Moitra had also walked out of the Ethics Committee meeting when she was called for an examination, alleging that she had been asked unethical and filthy questions.

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