Trinamool Distances Itself From Mahua Moitra Controversy

The Trinamool Congress has distanced itself from its MP Mahua Moitra, who is facing ‘cash for query’ allegations levelled by BJP MP Nishikant Dubey, with party leader Kunal Ghosh stating that the “related person may answer the issues”.

“No comments on this particular issue. We have nothing to say on it, The Trinamool Congress will not say a single word. We have nothing to say and no comments. The related person may explain or answer the issues but not Trinamool Congress,” TMC state general secretary Kunal Ghosh told ANI.

Asked about BJP levelling allegations against the Trinamool Congress, he said “we are observing the issue, gathering information but we don’t want to comment anything now”.

“Till now no comments,” he said answering another query about possible action.

While a few other opposition leaders have commented on the controversy, it is the first time that a senior Trinamool Congress leader has spelt out the party’s stance.

The Ethics Committee of Lok Sabha has called BJP MP Nishikant Dubey and Advocate Jai Anant Dehadrai, for oral evidence later this month in regard to the complaint filed by the BJP MP against Moitra alleging that she has “a direct involvement in ‘cash for query’ in Parliament”.

Dubey had on Sunday written a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla making “cash for query” allegations against Moitra and demanding an inquiry committee against her.

He urged for her “immediate suspension” from the House alleging that “bribes were exchanged between her and businessman Darshan

Hiranandani to ask questions in Parliament in exchange for cash and gifts”.Businessman Darshan Hiranandani on Friday submitted a “sworn” and notarised affidavit to the Ethics Committee of Lok Sabha, a day after he reportedly submitted a signed affidavit in the ‘cash for query’ allegations involving Mahua Moitra.

Sources said the Ethics Committee has received a fresh affidavit from Hiranandani, who resides in Dubai.

Office of Consulate General in Dubai said in its stamp that the signatory (Hiranandani) had signed it in their presence and that no “responsibility is accepted for the contents of the document”. The contents of Hiranandani’s two affidavits are the same.

Moitra, in her response to the “affidavit” had said in a press release on Thursday that it is “on white paper and not an official letterhead or notarised”. She also said there is “no official origin aside from a press leak”.

Hiranandani, in his affidavit, made allegations against Moitra, claiming that she provided him with her “Parliament login and password” so that he “could post questions directly on her behalf when required”.

Moitra had said in the press release that the “contents of the letter are a joke” and that “he was forced to sign a white paper.”

“The affidavit is on white paper, and not an official letterhead or notarized. Why would one of India’s most respected/educated businessmen sign a letter like this on white paper unless a gun was put on his head to do it?” Mahua said in the press release posted on ‘X’ on Friday.

“Darshan Hiranandani has not been summoned by the CBI or the Ethics Committee or indeed by any investigative agency yet. Who then has he given this affidavit to,” she said.

“The contents of the letter are a joke. It has clearly been drafted by some half-wit in the PMO who doubles up as a creative writer in the BJP’s IT cell. It sings paeans to Modi and Gautam Adani while linking every opponent of theirs to me and my alleged corruption,” Moitra alleged.

“Clearly someone said, ‘Sabh ka naam ghusaa do, aisa mauka phir nahi ayega’,” she added.

Further, attacking the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the TMC leader said,

“Paragraph 12 claims that Darshan gave in to my demands because he was fearful of displeasing me. Darshan and his father run one of India’s largest business groups and their recent projects in UP and Gujarat have been inaugurated by the CM of Uttar Pradesh and by the Prime Minister. Darshan accompanied the PM abroad as part of his business delegation very recently. Why would such a wealthy businessman who enjoys direct access to every minister and the PMO be coerced by a first-time opposition MP into giving her gifts and giving into her demands?”

“It is totally illogical and only cements the truth that the letter was drafted by the PMO and not Darshan”, the TMC MP alleged

The face-off between BJP MP Nishikant Dubey and Mahua Moitra over his ‘cash for query’ allegations took a fresh turn on Thursday as Hiranandani, who was behind the alleged payoffs, responded in an affidavit.

In his three-page signed affidavit, Hiranandani said that he resides in Dubai and came across letters dated October 14, by Advocate Jai Anant Dehadrai to the CBI and to BJP MP Nishikant Dubey where his name figured prominently. He says he has been following the events carefully.

In his affidavit, the businessman admitted to his friendship with Mahua Moitra.

“I have known Mahua since I met her at the Bengal summit 2017…..Over a period of time, she has become a close personal friend of mine…However, as our interactions grew over time she asked for odds and ends which involved my time,” the affidavit read.

Hiranandani claimed that the TMC MP saw attacking the Adani group as a route to fame. “She became Lok Sabha MP in May 2019… She was advised by her friends that the shortest route to fame was by attacking Narendra Modi. She thought that the only way to attack PM Modi was by attacking Gautam Adani and his group as they both come from Gujarat” his affidavit said.

Hiranandani claimed that Mahua Moitra did share her Parliament Login credentials with him. “She knew that Indian Oil Corporation was getting into an arrangement with Dhamra LNG a joint venture of the Adani group….. She drafted a few questions that she could raise in parliament that would have elements to embarrass the Govt and target the Adani group. She shared with me her email ID as MP, so I could send her information and she could raise the questions. I went along with her proposal” he claimed.

Hiranandani also claimed that he used the TMC MP’s login credentials to pose questions on the Adani group himself.

“She also received unverified details from several sources including some claiming to be former Adani group employees…..Certain information was shared with me, based on which I continued to draft and post questions using her Parliamentary login” he said in his affidavit.

Hiranandani then claimed that the TMC MP also demanded favours and gifts from him. “She made frequent demands of me and asked for various favours, The demands included gifting her expensive luxury items…..travel expenses, holidays etc” he claims in his affidavit.

Dubey has also written to Union IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw over the allegations. (ANI)

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