Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Mahua Moitra has been expelled from the Lok Sabha following allegations in a 'cash-for-query' scandal.
The Ethics Committee of the Lok Sabha, after an investigation into the matter, recommended her expulsion, which was subsequently adopted by the House on December 8, 2023.
The controversy began when BJP MP Nishikant Dubey accused Moitra of accepting bribes from businessman Darshan Hiranandani in exchange for raising questions in Parliament targeting the Adani Group.
It was alleged that Moitra shared her Lok Sabha credentials with Hiranandani to pose these questions. The Ethics Committee's report, which is over 100 pages long, was tabled amid uproar by opposition MPs who questioned the procedure followed by the panel and demanded a discussion on the report.
As Opposition MPs demand that Mahua Moitra be allowed to speak in the Lok Sabha, Speaker Om Birla explains that why it cannot be done.
He said, "I have a copy of the traditions that were followed earlier. Former Speakers Somnath Chatterjee and Pranab Mukherjee were here earlier...The rules and traditions that they gave are considered our rules. Somnath Chatterjee had said that the Members against whom there are accusations are given ample time to speak before the Committee...This House has the tradition that the traditions followed by the previous Speakers are always further followed by the next Speakers..."
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Despite dissent notes submitted by four members of the panel from opposition parties, the Lok Sabha passed a resolution to expel Moitra. The expulsion was debated in the House, with opposition leaders accusing the BJP-led government of engaging in "vendetta politics." TMC MP Kalyan Banerjee argued that the Lok Sabha did not have the power to remove Moitra as a member, but this contention was ultimately overridden by the adoption of the Ethics Committee's recommendation.
The case has drawn significant attention due to the serious nature of the allegations, which suggest a breach of parliamentary ethics and a potential compromise of national security. The Ethics Committee called for an "intense, legal, institutional inquiry" by the central government in a "time-bound manner."
Moitra's personal life also came under scrutiny during the proceedings, as she was previously in a relationship with advocate Jai Anant Dehadrai, who, along with Dubey, provided evidence against her. The scandal reportedly originated from a custodial battle over a dog named Henry, claimed by both Moitra and Dehadrai.
The expulsion of Mahua Moitra marks a significant moment in Indian parliamentary history, reflecting the ongoing efforts to maintain the integrity of legislative processes and combat corruption within the government.
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