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Ethics panel to table report on cash-for-query case against Mahua Moitra on first day of Parliament's Winter Session

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New Delhi | December 2, 2023 12:20:51 AM IST
The Ethics Committee, which probed the 'cash-for-query' allegations against Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, is slated to lay its report in Lok Sabha on the first day of the winter session of Parliament on December 4.

The listed agenda of Lok Sabha for December 4 mentions that Vinod Kumar Sonkar and Aparjita Sarangi to lay the "on the Table the First Report (Hindi and English versions) of the Committee on Ethics".

Lok Sabha Ethics Committee had last month submitted its draft report connection with the 'cash-for-query' case to Speaker Om Birla. Sources said the committee had recommended the expulsion of Moitra.

The Ethics Committee, which investigated the allegations made by BJP MP Nishikant Dubey, had on November 9 adopted its 500-page report recommending Moitra's expulsion from the 17th Lok Sabha in view of her "highly objectionable, unethical, heinous and criminal conduct".

The report was adopted with a 6:4 majority. According to panel chairman Vinod Sonkar, the members supporting the report included Preneet Kaur, the wife of former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, who is now with the BJP.

Dubey had written to the Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla against Moitra, accusing her of asking questions in Lok Sabha to target the Adani Group at the behest of businessman Darshan Hiranandani in exchange for gifts. He claimed that Advocate Jai Anant Dehadrai had provided him with proof of alleged bribes. The BJP MP and Dehadrai had appeared before the Lok Sabha Ethics Committee.

As per the sources, the draft report on Moitra's cash-for-questions case said that she visited UAE four times from 2019 to 2023 while her login was accessed several times. "On 47 occasions, her member portal login credentials were accessed from Dubai," according to the draft report of the ethics committee.

The Ethics Committee had sought details reports from Information Technology (IT) and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) regarding IP address and location.

The committee had also sought MHA's input on the dangers of sharing login credentials, emphasizing the legal consequences under Section IT ACT 2000.

The draft report is learnt to have suggested that "serious misdemeanours on the part of Mahua Moitra calls for severe punishment".

"The Committee, therefore, recommends that Mahua Moitra, MP may be expelled from the Membership of the Seventeenth Lok Sabha. In view of the highly objectionable, unethical, heinous and criminal conduct of Mahua Moitra, the Committee recommend for an intense, legal, institutional inquiry by the Government of India in a time-bound manner," the report is learnt to have said.

"'Unethical Conduct' and 'Contempt of the House' by Mahua Moitra by way of accepting money - cash and kind, amenities and various other facilities by Mahua Moitra, MP from Darshan Hiranandani, Business Tycoon, based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates," it is learnt to have said.

Opposition MPs gave dissent notes on the draft report. "One common ground for all the opposition MPs to submit a dissent note is that the enquiry is not fair. They have said that Darshan Hiranandani should have been summoned by the committee to ensure a free and fair enquiry in all respects," a source said.

Moitra, in a post on X on November 10, had said she was being "unethically expelled".

"Proud to go down in parliamentary history as 1st person to be unethically expelled by Ethics Comm whose mandate doesn't include explusion. 1st expel & THEN ask govt to ask CBI to find evidence. Kangaroo court, monkey business from start to finish," she said.

The Central Bureau of Investigation has also initiated an investigation against Moitra to look into 'quid pro quo' allegations of raising questions in Parliament, sources said.

In this regard, a senior CBI official said that no Preliminary Enquiry (PE) has been registered, However, an investigation has been initiated as the matter was referred by the anti-corruption body Lokpal.

The winter session of Parliament will conclude on December 22. (ANI)

 
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