Ms Moitra was expelled from the Lok Sabha today.
Trinamool Congress leader Mahua Moitra was expelled from Lok Sabha today following an Ethics Committee report held her guilty of taking bribes in exchange for criticising the government.
The 49-year-old MP faces accusations of receiving cash and luxurious gifts from businessman Darshan Hiranandani in exchange for posing questions in Parliament that painted the Narendra Modi government in a negative light.
Timeline Of The 'Cash For Query' Case:
How It Began
On October 14, Supreme Court lawyer Jai Anant Dehadrai filed a complaint with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and forwarded a copy to the Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, seeking to address alleged corruption and money laundering.
Ms Moitra denied all allegations against her, dismissing Mr Dehadrai as a "jilted ex." In response, Mr Dehadrai wrote to the Delhi Police, claiming he feared "a very serious threat to his life" due to his complaint and alleging a direct attempt to coerce him into retracting it.
BJP MP Nishikant Dubey requested the immediate suspension of Ms Moitra in a letter to Mr Birla. Mr Dubey alleged that Ms Moitra had accepted bribes from Mr Hiranandani in exchange for asking parliamentary questions critical of PM Modi and the Adani Group. These actions, according to Mr Dubey, constituted breaches of parliamentary privilege, contempt of the House, and potentially criminal conspiracy.
Mr Dubey's complaint triggered a hearing by the Ethics Panel of Parliament, summoning both him and Mr Dehadrai.
Darshan Hiranandani's Explosive Claims
Mr Hiranandani, meanwhile, submitted an affidavit alleging Ms Moitra shared her parliamentary credentials with him to facilitate the framing and posting of questions targeting the Adani Group, a measure she perceived as the "only way" to reach PM Modi. He admitted that he used the Trinamool MP's parliamentary login ID and password to post questions from Dubai.
Ms Moitra conceded to sharing her parliamentary login credentials with Mr Hiranandani. While acknowledging a receipt of gifts from him, she clarified that they were limited to personal items like "one scarf, some lipsticks, and other makeup items including eye shadow." Ms Moitra, however, denied any bribery and demanded the opportunity to cross-examine the businessman.
Mahua Moitra's Defiance
Ms Moitra defied the Ethics Committee's initial summons to appear on October 31. She explained her stance, stating that the Committee chairman had publicly announced her summons on live television before she received the official notification via email at 7:20 pm.
She further highlighted the media's access to all complaints and affidavits before her, labeling it a "selective leak of a plea bargain." She characterized the proceedings as a "witch hunt" targeting any politician who dared to question the Adani Group.
Mahua Moitra Walks Out
On November 2, Ms Moitra agreed to appear before the Ethics Committee but staged a walked out.
In a scathing letter to the Speaker, she accused the panel of engaging in "proverbial vastraharan (stripping)," highlighting her belief that their questioning was biased and unfair.
The Ethics Committee countered Ms Moitra's claims, stating that her lack of cooperation and refusal to answer further questions led to her premature departure.
Ethics Panel Report Submitted To Speaker
On November 10, the Ethics Committee submitted its report to the Speaker, recommending Ms Moitra's expulsion. The report accused her of accepting "illegal gratifications" from Mr Hiranandani in exchange for raising questions in Parliament on his behalf.
Six out of ten members of the Ethics Committee voted to adopt the 479-page report. The remaining four members, belonging to opposition parties, registered dissent.
Report Tabled In Parliament
On December 8, the Ethics Committee report was tabled in parliament. The panel's chairman Vinod Kumar Sonkar tabled the report during the afternoon session, prompting immediate chaos in the House.
Trinamool Congress and Congress members stormed the Well of the House, demanding access to the report and a discussion before any action was taken. Kalyan Banerjee, a senior TMC member, further insisted on a debate before any vote on Ms Moitra's expulsion.
Amid the uproar, the presiding officer, BJP's Rajendra Agrawal, adjourned the proceedings till 2 pm, unable to contain the commotion.
Mahua Moitra Expelled
Following the tabling of the report, Ms Moitra was expelled. Despite a heated debate and demands from Ms Moitra and opposition members for her to speak, she was not given the opportunity to defend herself before the vote.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi moved a motion for her expulsion based on "unethical conduct", which was subsequently adopted by a voice vote.