The parliamentary Ethics Committee that is hearing the alleged “cash-for-query” issue involving Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, will meet on November 7 to consider and adopt its draft report. The BJP members are in a majority in the 15-member committee, which is likely to take a stern view of the issue.
The Committee has heard all sides. The last hearing was that of Ms Moitra on Thursday, which ended in a walkout by the MP and her Opposition colleagues who were part of the panel.
Ms Moitra has alleged that she was subjected to humiliating personal questions from the panel, dubbing it as “proverbial vastraharan (stripping)”. The Ethics panel and its chief — BJP MP Vinod Kumar Sonkar — have accused her of non-cooperation.
The hearing was held in response to a complaint by the BJP’s Nishikant Dubey, who alleged that Ms Moitra has accepted cash from businessman Darshan Hiranandani to ask questions in parliament on his behalf to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi and business rival Adani Group.
In a letter to Speaker Om Birla, he demanded her immediate suspension from parliament.
Shortly after, Mr Hiranandani, in an explosive affidavit, admitted to posting questions on Mahua Moitra’s parliamentary login, but remained silent on the cash-for-query issue. He claimed that he had given Ms Moitra gifts she demanded to stay in her good books and get her help to expand his business in Opposition-ruled states.
Ms Moitra — who trashed the cash-for-query allegations — has admitted that she shared her parliamentary login. But she has contended that no rules governing its usage have been communicated to the members.
The MP, who has been accused of conspiracy along with “serious Breach of Privilege” and “Contempt of the House”, has also pointed out that the Ethics Committee may not be the “appropriate forum to examine allegations of alleged criminality”, because it lacks the power to examine such allegations.
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