On Friday, December 8, TMC MP Mahua Moitra was expelled from the Lok Sabha, in the ‘cash-for-query’ case. This was preceded by a heated discussion in the Lok Sabha, after the Ethics Committee report in the case was tabled in the house. After the motion to expel Moita from the Lok Sabha was passed, Moitra along with other Opposition leaders, protested outside the Parliament, and called the decision ‘unfair’.
In its report, the Ethics Committee said, ‘Serious misdemeanours calls for severe punishments. Allegations of accepting illegal gratification are clearly established and are undeniable.’ The report further declared, ‘Taking gifts from a businessman to whom she handed over the log-in details, amounts to a quid pro quo, which is unbecoming of an MP, and is unethical conduct.’
Recommending ‘severe punishment’ for Moitra, the report suggests an ‘intense, legal, institutional inquiry’ by the Centre, in a ‘time-bound manner’.
The report further reveals how, between January 1, 2019, and September 30, 2023, Moitra visited Dubai and the UAE, where businessman Hiranandani lives, 4 times, and her login credentials to the MP portal were operated from Dubai 47 times. Out of the 61 questions posted by Moitra on the said portal, 50 had the intent of ‘protecting or perpetuating’ the business interests of Hiranandani.
Right after the expulsion motion was passed, Moitra and the Opposition walked out of the Parliament, and the expelled TMC MP said that the decision was that of a ‘kangaroo court’, and there was no evidence of cash.
Mahua Moitra said, ‘The Lok Sabha Ethics Committee refused to summon the businessman to testify that there is evidence of any cash or any gifts. The recommendation of expulsion was solely based on the complaint that I shared my login details; but there is no rule whatsoever in this regard.’
TMC supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee, said that the BJP had ‘planned’ the expulsion of Moitra, and added that this would help her before the 2024 Lok Sabha election.