Lok Sabha votes out TMC's Mahua Moitra in cash-for-query matter; House adjourned

Opposition INDIA bloc leaders on Friday questioned the Lok Sabha Ethics Panel recommendation for expelling Mahua Moitra, and accused the BJP-led government of doing "vendetta politics".
TMC MP Mahua Moitra on the first day of the Winter session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Monday, Dec. 4, 2023. (PTI)
TMC MP Mahua Moitra on the first day of the Winter session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Monday, Dec. 4, 2023. (PTI)

Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra has been voted out by the Lok Sabha for 'unethical conduct' in relation to the cash-for-query matter, on Friday noon. Moitra's 'expulsion' happened after the House held her guilty of sharing her credentials with others and accepting gifts from a businessman to extend favours. This move means she may lose her MP status.

Opposition members staged a walkout from the House which has been adjourned for the day. It had been adjourned in the morning, too, following uproar from Parliamentarians over the issue.

An Ethics Committee of the Lok Sabha had recommended Moitra's expulsion from the House over the cash-for-query allegation. The committee's report was tabled in the House today. 

After a heated debate after the House reconvened at noon, during which Moitra was not allowed to speak, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi moved a motion to expel the Trinamool member for "unethical conduct", which was adopted by a voice vote.

Moitra slammed the move by the "kangaroo court" while answering queries by media outside Parliament House. She said that the Parliament did not allow her to speak at all.

She pointed out that the ethics panel had not summoned the businessman who raised the allegations against her, adding that the Modi government "can't shut her up on the Adani issue."

"In essence, I have been found guilty of breaching a code of ethics that does not exist," Moitra told media.

BJP MP Nishikant Dubey had approached the Lokpal on October 21 with a complaint against Moitra over allegations of accepting bribes to raise questions in Parliament. Dubey had cited Supreme Court lawyer and Moitra’s estranged partner Jai Anant Dehadrai’s letter which mentioned “irrefutable evidence” of the alleged exchange between Moitra and Hiranandani.

Businessman Darshan Hiranandani, who allegedly paid Moitra to raise questions in Parliament about the Adani Group, had claimed in a signed affidavit that the TMC MP from Krishnanagar targeted industrialist Gautam Adani to "malign and embarrass" Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Moitra has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and claimed that she was being targeted as she had raised questions on the deals of the Adani group.

Opposition INDIA bloc leaders on Friday questioned the Lok Sabha Ethics Panel recommendation for expelling Mahua Moitra, and accused the BJP-led government of doing "vendetta politics".

The report was tabled in the Lok Sabha on Friday amid an uproar by opposition MPs who questioned the procedure followed by the panel and demanded a discussion on the report.

The Ethics Committee report recommended that Moitra "may be expelled" from the Lok Sabha and called for an "intense, legal, institutional inquiry" by the central government in a "time-bound manner".

On Friday, Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury had written to Speaker Om Birla urging him to postpone the debate on the Ethics Committee report on Mahua Moitra to enable members to prepare for a discussion on it, as the report is over 100 pages and exhaustive.

However, the Speaker initiated a debate on the report.

Moitra: It's 'cash to not question'

In an interview with a TV channel last month, the TMC lawmaker claimed that she was approached by two Lok Sabha MPs over the last three years to broker peace with Gautam Adani, the Adani Group's Chairperson. Moitra has been one of the most vocal critics of the Adani group, particularly after a US short-seller, Hindenburg Research, accused the business conglomerate of running a financial scam involving the stocks of its companies.

“Adani has approached me via two Lok Sabha MPs in the last three years to sit across the table with him and work out a deal. I have refused. The issue is, he was giving cash to not question when that didn't work,” she said, adding that she doesn’t want to name the MPs.

She then received a message to keep quiet for six months till the elections are over, she claimed.  

In a signed affidavit, Hiranandani admitted he paid her bribes and he used Moitra's Parliamentary login to ask questions targeting Adani after Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) booked capacity at Adani’s Dhamra LNG import facility in Odisha and not at his firm's planned facility.

Admitting that she shared the login details to ‘Hiranandani's office’, Moitra said that questions were drafted by her only. She also said that there was no conflict of interest in raising questions on Dhamra port and Hiranandani was not a bidder in the process.

On allegations that she has accepted expensive gifts and bribes in lieu of asking questions, Moitra said that the only gifts she received from Hiranandani were "one scarf, one lipstick and one eye shadow".

The MP also rubbished charges that she received Rs 2 crores in cash from Hiranandani both in Indian currency and foreign currency for asking questions in parliament.

She said Dehadrai’s complaint was fake. “You have used a person with a failed personal relationship to file a fake complaint and you have put a gun to a friend of mine’s (Darshan’s) head to back it up. But the two have to match.. It’s a bad hit job,” she told The Indian Express.


At a meeting on November 9, the ethics committee adopted its report recommending Moitra's expulsion from the Lok Sabha over the "cash-for-query" allegation.

The report had revealed that she visited the UAE four times from 2019 to 2023 while her login was accessed several times.

Moitra had appeared before the Lok Sabha Ethics Committee on November 2. Along with Opposition members of the panel, she had walked out of the meeting, alleging that she was asked ‘filthy questions’ by the panel.  Opposition MPs who walked out of the meeting along with Moitra said that she was asked extremely personal questions including details of her relationship with businessman Darshan Hiranandani, her travel to Dubai, duration of her phone calls and details of hotel stay among others. 

Six members of the panel, including suspended Congress member Preneet Kaur, voted in favour of the report. Four members of the panel belonging to opposition parties submitted dissent notes.

The Committee has recommended an investigation by the government into the 'money trail' of cash transactions between Moitra and Hiranandani as a part of 'quid pro quo'.

Recently, the CBI had registered a preliminary enquiry on the cash-for-query charges against Moitra, sources said. The probe agency has reportedly begun its investigations.

(With agency inputs)

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