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Why Lok Sabha has expelled Mahua Moitra: Highlights of Ethics Committee report | Political Pulse News

The Lok Sabha on Friday expelled Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Mahua Moitra from Parliament in a cash-for-query case. Earlier in the day, the Lok Sabha Ethics Committee submitted a report recommending Moitra’s expulsion from the House.

In October, BJP MP Nishikant Dubey, based on a complaint by Supreme Court lawyer Jai Anant Dehradrai, alleged that the Krishnagar MP was asking questions in the Parliament in exchange for cash and gifts from businessman Darshan Hiranandani. In an affidavit to the Ethics Committee on October 19, Hiranandani claimed that Moitra provided him with her Parliament login ID and password so that he could “post questions” directly “on her behalf when required”.

Earlier on Friday, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, the Congress’s floor leader in the House, cited the length of the report and requested Speaker Om Birla to allow MPs three to four days to go through the report. Meanwhile, the BJP issued a whip for all of its members to be present. After discussion, the report will be put to vote.

The crucial takeaways from the report:

  • The 104-page report titled “examination/investigation of alleged ‘unethical conduct’ of Mahua Moitra” says that between January 1, 2019, and September 30, 2023, Moitra visited the United Arab Emirates on four occasions allegedly for her meetings with Hiranandani, adding that her login credentials were being operated from Dubai 47 times during this period. It alleges the IP address while logging into the MPs’ portal was the same all 47 times and was operated from Dubai.
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs, the ethics committee says in the report, “explicitly informed” it that several documents — such as the copy of the J&K Delimitation Bill, 2019 — that Moitra had allegedly shared with Hiranandani were not available in the “public domain”. This, it said, led to the “possibility of leakage of sensitive material which could be exploited by inimical elements to the detriment of national security”.
  • The committee argues that the sharing of material with Hiranandani, who holds an Indian passport but resides in the UAE and also has relatives who are foreign nationals, created a “serious risk of leakage of sensitive material to foreign agencies”.
  • The report says that if the login credentials of the MPs are given to an “unauthorised person”, it “enables the person to access “important” documents that may “interfere in the affairs of the parliament by manipulating parliamentary information to serve his/her commercial interests and/for other ulterior motives”.
  • The committee has concluded that of the 61 questions posed by Moitra on the portal, 50 were with the intent of “protecting or perpetuating business interests” of Hiranandani.
  • Citing Section 66 read with Section 43 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, it prescribes punishment for sharing user ID and password in a “fraudulent and dishonest manner” with an imprisonment of a term of three years, a Rs 5 lakh fine or both. Calling the above instances “serious misdemeanours” that required “severe punishment”, the committee recommends Moitra’s “expulsion” from the House.

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