Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra has been appointed the district chief of Krishnanagar (Nadia North), which falls under her Lok Sabha constituency. Ms Moitra got the new role in the party led by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee amid a huge controversy in the cash-for-query case against the Bengal MP.
She thanked Ms Banerjee and her party in a post on X, formerly Twitter. “Thank you, Mamata Banerjee and AITC (All India Trinamool Congress) for appointing me district president of Krishnanagar (Nadia North). Will always work with the party for the people of Krishnanagar,” Ms Moitra said in the post.
— Mahua Moitra (@MahuaMoitra) November 13, 2023
Ms Moitra is among 15 other new district chiefs announced by the ruling party in Bengal today.
The Trinamool Congress was seen to be closely watching the developments in the cash-for-query case against Ms Moitra, without wading into publicly defending her. The party has been circumspect in taking a public position, though Trinamool MP and Ms Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee has supported her over the decision of the Lok Sabha ethics committee to recommend her suspension from parliament.
The party’s move to give her charge of a district in her own constituency is being seen as an indication that the Trinamool considers her one of their most important leaders.
The ethics committee, after hearing Ms Moitra in a closed-door meeting from which she and opposition MPs walked out over the manner of questioning, in its 500-page report to the Lok Sabha Speaker said she should not be allowed to continue as an MP and her membership should be terminated.
The committee called Ms Moitra’s actions “highly objectionable, unethical, heinous and criminal”, and sought severe punishment.
In the operative part of the 500-page report accessed by NDTV, the committee has also recommended that a “legal, intensive, institutional and time-bound investigation” be held into the entire matter.
The committee concluded Ms Moitra had shared user ID with “unauthorised persons”, took cash and amenities from businessman Darshan Hiranandani and it was a “serious misdemeanour” on her part which calls for “serious punishment”.
“The money trail of cash transaction between Smt Mahua Moitra and Shri Darshan Hiranandani as a part of a ‘quid pro quo’ should be investigated by the government of India in a legal, institutional and time-bound manner,” the report read.
BJP MP Nishikant Dubey – who had flagged the matter to the Lok Sabha Speaker — has said the anti-corruption body Lokpal has ordered a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the corruption allegations against Ms Moitra.
The BJP MP had alleged that Ms Moitra accepted cash from Mr Hiranandani to ask questions in parliament on his behalf to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi and business rival Adani Group. He also claimed that Ms Moitra, by sharing her parliamentary login with the businessman, has compromised national security.
Ms Moitra had admitted to it, but claimed there is no regulation governing sharing of login and password. Ahead of her hearing with the Ethics Committee, she had written them a letter, questioning “Why these rules are not shared with MPs”.