Mahua Moitra to appear before Lok Sabha Ethics Committee on Thursday, seeks permission to cross-examine alleged ‘bribe giver’

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New Delhi: Facing ‘cash for query’ allegations, TMC MP Mahua Moitra has written to the Lok Sabha Ethics Committee that she will appear before it for the hearing on November 2– the summoned date– and has asked for permission to cross-examine the alleged ‘bribe giver’ Darshan Hiranandani and the complainant, Advocate Jai Dehadrai.

The TMC Lok Sabha MP on Wednesday made public her letter to the Ethics Committee Chairman and BJP MP Vinod Kumar Sonkar.

Posting the two-page letter on her X handle, Moitra said, “Since the Since Ethics Committee deemed it fit to release my summons to the media I think it is important I too release my letter to the Committee before my “hearing” tomorrow.”

In her letter, Moitra alleged that Advocate Dehadrai had provided no documentary evidence to back his allegations in either his written complaint and neither could he provide any evidence in his oral hearing.

“In keeping with the principles of natural justice I wish to exercise my right to cross-examine Dehadrai,” she wrote in her letter to the Committee.

“In light of the seriousness of the allegations, it is imperative that the alleged ‘bribe-giver’ Darshan Hiranandani, who has given a ‘Suo-Motu’ affidavit to the Committee with scant details and no documentary evidence whatsoever, be called to depose before the Committee and provide the said evidence in the form of a documented itemised inventory with amounts, date etc” she further wrote.

“I wish to place on record that in keeping with the principles of natural Justice I wish to exercise my right to cross-examine Hiranandani,” she added.
Moitra had asked the Committee to answer in writing and place on record their decision to either allow or disallow such cross-examination.

Moreover, the TMC MP also raised concerns over the ‘double-standards’ of the Ethics Committee and highlighted that the panel is adopting a different approach in the case of BJP MP Ramesh Biduri, who she says has a very serious complaint of hate speech.

“In direct contrast, a very different approach has been adopted in the case of Shri Ramesh Biduri, MP, BJP who has a very serious complaint of hate speech (which was openly made on the floor of the House) pending against him in the Privileges and Ethics branch made by a Hon’ble member of this same Committee, Shri Danish Ali, MP. Biduri was summoned on October 10, 2023 to provide oral evidence and informed the Committee that he was away campaigning in Rajasthan and would not be attending. No further date of his hearing has been given so far. I wish to place on record that these double-standards reek of political motives and do little to enhance the credibility of the Privileges & Ethics Branch,” Moitra said in the letter.

The TMC MP also questioned the jurisdiction of the committee in investigating alleged criminality.

“There is also the question of whether the Ethics committee is the appropriate forum to examine alleged criminality. I wish to respectfully remind you that Parliamentary Committees do not have criminal jurisdiction and have no mandate to investigate alleged criminality…. This check was specifically created by our nation’s founders to prevent even the slightest misuse of Committees by the government enjoying a brute majority in Parliament” the TMC MP wrote.

Mahua Moitra is facing ‘cash for query’ allegations by Bharatiya Janata Party MP Nishikant Dubey, who alleged that Moitra had allegedly taken bribes from Dubai-based businessman Hiranandani to raise questions in Parliament to target the Adani Group.

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