Cash for query row: TMC MP Mahua Moitra appears before Lok Sabha Ethics Committee | India News



NEW DELHI: Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra on Thursday appeared before the Lok Sabha Ethics Committee, which is probing ‘cash for query‘ allegations levelled against her by Bharatiya Janata Party MP Nishikant Dubey.
Moitra, in a letter to the panel on Wednesday, confirmed she would appear before it for the hearing.
Dubey had alleged that Moitra allegedly took bribes from Dubai-based businessman Darshan Hiranandani to raise questions in Parliament to target the Adani Group.Dubey had written a letter to Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla, titled “Re-emergence of nasty ‘Cash for Query’ in Parliament”, seeking a probe into the matter. He also claimed that advocate Jai Anant Dehadrai had provided him with proof of alleged bribes.
The BJP MP and the complainant Dehadrai had appeared before the Lok Sabha panel on October 26 to provide oral evidence. The panel had asked Moitra to appear on October 31. She requested a hearing date after November 5 citing pre-scheduled programmes, but was denied an extension beyond November 2.
Moitra also asked for permission to cross-examine the alleged “bribe giver” Hiranandani and the complainant, advocate Dehadrai, in the case.
The TMC MP on Wednesday made public her letter to the Ethics Committee chief and BJP MP Vinod Kumar Sonkar.
Posting the two-page letter on her X handle, Moitra said, “Since Ethics Committee deemed it fit to release my summons to the media I think it is important I too release my letter to the Committee before my “hearing” tomorrow.
In her letter, Moitra alleged that advocate Dehadrai had provided no documentary evidence to back his allegations in either his written complaint or any evidence in his oral hearing.
“In keeping with the principles of natural justice I wish to exercise my right to cross-examine Dehadrai,” she wrote in her letter to the Committee.
“In light of the seriousness of the allegations, it is imperative that the alleged ‘bribe-giver’ Darshan Hiranandani, who has given a ‘Suo-Motu’ affidavit to the Committee with scant details and no documentary evidence whatsoever, be called to depose before the Committee and provide the said evidence in the form of a documented itemised inventory with amounts, date etc” she further wrote.
“I wish to place on record that in keeping with the principles of natural Justice I wish to exercise my right to cross-examine Hiranandani,” she added.
Moitra had asked the Committee to answer in writing and place on record their decision to either allow or disallow such cross-examination.
Moreover, the TMC MP also raised concerns over the ‘double standards’ of the Ethics Committee and highlighted that the panel is adopting a different approach in the case of BJP MP Ramesh Biduri, who she says has a very serious complaint of hate speech.
“In direct contrast, a very different approach has been adopted in the case of Shri Ramesh Biduri, MP, BJP who has a very serious complaint of hate speech (which was openly made on the floor of the House) pending against him on the Privileges and Ethics branch made by a Hon’ble member of this same Committee, Shri Danish Ali, MP. Biduri was summoned on October 10, 2023, to provide oral evidence and informed the Committee that he was away campaigning in Rajasthan and would not be attending. No further date for his hearing has been given so far. I wish to place on record that these double standards reek of political motives and do little to enhance the credibility of the Privileges & Ethics Branch,” Moitra said in the letter.
The TMC MP also questioned the jurisdiction of the committee in investigating alleged criminality.
“There is also the question of whether the Ethics committee is the appropriate forum to examine alleged criminality. I wish to respectfully remind you that Parliamentary Committees do not have criminal jurisdiction and have no mandate to investigate alleged criminality….This check was specifically created by our nation’s founders to prevent even the slightest misuse of Committees by the government enjoying a brute majority in Parliament” the TMC MP wrote.
(With inputs from agencies)





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