Trinamool leader Mahua Moitra approaches Supreme Court against expulsion from Lok Sabha in ethics case
Mahua Moitra is a Trinamool Congress leader (File). New Delhi: Trinamool Congress leader Mahua Moitra on Monday approached the
Ms Moitra, 49, was accused of taking bribes, including Rs 2 crore in cash and “luxury gift items”, from businessman Darshan Hiranandani in exchange for asking questions critical of the government in Parliament. She was also accused of surrendering log-in credentials to a confidential account on the parliamentary website, so Mr Hiranandani could post those questions directly.
A fiery critic of the Modi administration, Ms Moitra denied the bribery charges but admitted to sharing the log-in details. She argued that sharing of these details is common practice among MPs.
Mahua Moitra was the subject of a contentious Ethics Committee report that said “allegations of accepting illegal gratification (are) clearly established and are undeniable”, and that “taking gifts from (a) businessman to whom she handed over log-in (details) amounts to a quid pro quo…”
This, the report said, is “…unbecoming of an MP and is unethical conduct”.
The tabling of the 500-page report in the Lok Sabha triggered a furious row between the opposition and the ruling BJP, which included arguments on whether Ms Moitra would be allowed to speak.
After a tempestuous debate and voice vote, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said, “This House accepts the conclusions of the Committee – that MP Mahua Moitra’s conduct was immoral and indecent. So, it is not appropriate for her to continue as an MP…”
Refused permission to speak inside the Lok Sabha, Ms Moitra slammed the ethics panel outside Parliament, accusing it of “breaking every rule” and predicting CBI raids in the near future.
The CBI has opened an inquiry in the allegations against Ms Moitra.
“… The Lok Sabha has presided over the most tenacious witch-hunt of one of the 78 MPs, a first-timer, a single woman, with no political lineage… This Lok Sabha has also seen the weaponisation of a parliamentary committee,” she said.
Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is also Ms Moitra’s party boss, called the expulsion “unacceptable” and said that “vendetta politics of (the) BJP had killed democracy”.
Earlier she had accused the BJP of having “planned” the expulsion of Ms Moitra – who is one of the ruling party’s fiercest and most vocal critics. “… but this will help her before the election,” she said.