The Supreme Court has adjourned the hearing on TMC leader Mahua Moitra’s plea against her expulsion from the Lok Sabha for January 3 next year.
A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and SVN Bhatti was hearing Moitra’s writ petition. The former Member of Parliament (MP), who represented the Krishnanagar Lok Sabha seat in West Bengal, faced expulsion on December 8 after the lower house voted in favour of the motion to remove her as an MP.
The matter came forth after BJP MP Nishikant Dubey complained against Moitra accusing her of accepting cash and goods in exchange for asking questions for businessman Darshan Hiranandani. Later, in an interview, Moitra agreed that she shared her login credentials with Hiranandani but the accusations against her were not true.
However, the matter reached the ethics panel of the Lok Sabha which summoned Moitra as well. But, the TMC leader, after appearing before the panel, said she was subjected to verbal ‘vastraharan’. The panel tabled its report finding Moitra guilty of the act and recommended that she should be expelled.
Reacting sharply to her expulsion, Moitra had equated the action with hanging by a “kangaroo court” and alleged that a parliamentary panel was being weaponised by the government to force the opposition into submission.
The Ethics Committee found Moitra guilty of “unethical conduct” and contempt of the House as she had shared her Lok Sabha members’ portal credentials — user ID and password — with unauthorised people, which had an irrepressible impact on national security, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said.
The committee had also recommended that in view of the “highly objectionable, unethical, heinous and criminal conduct” of Mahua Moitra, an intense, legal and institutional inquiry be initiated by the government in a time-bound manner.
In October, Jharkhand BJP MP Nishikant Dubey, on the basis of a complaint submitted by Supreme Court lawyer Jai Anant Dehadrai, alleged that Moitra had asked questions in the Lok Sabha in exchange for cash and gifts from businessman Darshan Hiranandani to target industrialist Gautam Adani and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In an affidavit to the panel on October 19, Hiranandani claimed that Moitra shared with him her log-in ID and password for the Lok Sabha members’ website.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has already filed a preliminary FIR in the case.