The Parliamentary Ethics Committee questioning of Mahua Moitra — which the Trinamool MP had claimed involved “extremely personal and derogatory questions” — was an attempt to ascertain facts that were flagged in submissions by the Union home ministry and the IT ministry, sources have said. Ms Moitra had walked out of the November 2 meeting with some Opposition members of the committee, refusing to answer the questions of committee chairman Vinod Sonkar.
Ms Moitra had indicated that the questions pertained to her relationship with industrialist Darshan Hiranandani, who has been accused of giving bribes in exchange for parliament questions to perpetuate his business interests.
Sources said the report underscored that the questions asked were based on submissions made by various departments on the alleged unethical conduct of Ms Moitra. The crux of the login-sharing lay in the discrepancy between Ms Moitra’s visits to Dubai and the huge number of times her login was accessed from there.
According to the committee report, Mahua Moitra’s account was operated 47 times from United Arab Emirates between July 2019 and April 2023. But between 2019 and September 2023, she had visited UAE only four times. Her Parliament id had 47 logins from Dubai, all from one IP address.
So during the meeting on November 2, Mr Sonkar had asked Ms Moitra how many times she met Mr Hiranandani while in Dubai, sources said. Ms Moitra became upset with the question and refused to respond. She was also given the option of not answering questions.
In course of the meeting, she also accused the chairman of asking questions that she alleged were given by Supreme Court lawyer Jai Anant Dehadrai, whom she had described once as a “jilted ex”.
She maintained that she would answer questions that are only related to the charges against her and that she had already told the panel she was using Mr Hiranandani’s office for secretarial assistance.
Sources also told NDTV the report noted a problematic intervention by BSP MP Danish Ali who was the first to use the term “cheer haran” (referring to the attempted disrobing of Draupadi by the Kauravs in Mahabharata).
His remark came immediately after the first few questions asked by Mr Sonkar.
JDU MP Giridhari Yadav also asked for the questions to be stopped as “it was getting late and that another meeting could be called for this”.
Ms Moitra, however, said she would not come for more sittings, sources said. Then she had walked out of the meeting and five MPs had accompanied her.
Even before the questioning, Ms Moitra admitted to sharing her parliamentary login, but claimed there is no regulation governing this. Ahead of her hearing with the Ethics Committee, she had also written to them, questioning why these rules “are not shared with MPs”.
In an explosive affidavit, Mr Hiranandani, who allegedly paid her to ask questions in parliament on his behalf to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi and business rival Adani Group, has admitted to login sharing.
The committee today formally adopted the report that recommended her expulsion after 6-4 voting.
Its report had said Ms Moitra’s actions were “highly objectionable, unethical, heinous and criminal”. Citing a host of reasons why parliamentary login sharing could be a threat to national security, the committee also asked the government to launch a probe into the money trail, sources said. The report had pointed out that 50 of the 61 questions asked by Ms Moitra coincided with Mr Hiranandani’s interests, sources said.