NEW DELHI: Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra on Friday said she is ready to cooperate with the Lok Sabha Ethics Committee probe over cash-for-query allegations but sought protection from “cheap and derogatory questioning.” Mahua Moitra has been accused of posing questions via her parliamentary account at the behest of businessman Darshan Hiranandani and sharing her login credentials with him.
On Thursday, the Trinamool MP walked out of the panel’s meeting alleging that she was asked irrelevant questions about her personal life during the hearing. She had found support from the opposition members of the panel, who also boycotted the proceedings alleging that the panel chairman Vinod Kumar Sonkar had asked unethical and undignified questions.
“Five members of the committee, which is around fifty per cent, walked out in protest against the chairman’s behaviour and unethical questioning. The five members from the opposition protested and told the chairperson that he cannot do this. But the chairperson continued to humiliate me,” Mahua said.

‘Dark Day in India’s Constitutional History’: Nishikant Dubey on Mahua’s lashing out at Lok Sabha ethics committee

However, Sonkar had denied these charges and accused Mahua of using unparliamentary language. Sonkar also alleged that the opposition walkout was staged to avoid questions relevant to the probe. “Instead of giving answers, she (Mahua Moitra) got angry and used unparliamentary language for the chairperson, and committee members. The walk out was to escape questions related to affidavit submitted by Hiranandani,” he said.
Mahua’s allegations have also been countered by Aparajita Sarangi, BJP MP and member of Ethics Committee. Sarangi said Mahua Moitra was arrogant, rude during the panel’s meeting. The BJP MP also accused Moitra of creating a fake narrative and misleading the people of the country by playing a victim card.
“The chairman limited his questions to the affidavit submitted by Darshan Hiranandani. So there was no question of going beyond the limits or rather the contents of the affidavit. Mahua Moitra spoke for more than 1 hour and she talked about her personal life in which I don’t think anybody was interested. And then suddenly thereafter there were certain questions pertaining to the contents of the affidavit posed by the chairman where she actually lost her cool and used all kinds of filthy language against the chairman and other members of the Committee. She was very arrogant in her demeanour and was very rude,” Sarangi said.

Instead of giving answers, she got angry: Parliament Ethics Committee Chairman Vinod Sonkar on Mahua Moitra’s outburst and Opposition MPs’ walk out

Moitra, who has also lodged a complaint with Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla about the questioning, dubbed the ethics committee probe as a “political witch-hunt” and said the sole intention is to “suspend her” from Parliament.
“I have told the Lok Sabha Speaker that he has to give me protection against the filthy, disgusting misogyny. Anything related to the inquiry, I have already answered. I have clarified my position 100 times. If I have broken any rule, I should be informed about it. If they want to ask me any questions, it’s okay, but not in this setup,” the Trinamool MP said in an interview to news agency PTI.

‘Why you talking S**t: Mahua Moitra storms off, lashes out at journalists after ethics committee meeting

In her strongly-worded letter to Lok Sabha Speaker, Mahua claimed that she was subjected to the proverbial “vastraharan.””I write to you in great anguish today to update you on the unethical, sordid, and prejudiced behaviour meted out to me at the hearing of the Ethics Committee by the Chairman. I have been subjected to the proverbial ‘vastraharan’ by him in the presence of all members of the Committee,” Moitra wrote to Om Birla.
The Trinamool MP criticised the committee for not summoning Darshan Hiranandani and not allowing her to cross-examine him, expressing her belief that he could be summoned before a parliamentary committee as a citizen of the country.
“Why is the ethics committee not summoning Darshan Hiranandani, and not allowing me to cross examine him? He is a citizen of this country, he can be summoned before a parliamentary committee,” she said.

“Cash for query”: Mahua Moitra cites prior engagements to Lok Sabha ethics panel, seeks fresh dates

Meanwhile, BJP MP Nishikant Dubey, who had filed the complaint against the Trinamool MP, said “This entire matter is suspicious and national interest was compromised for corruption.”
He questioned a Congress leader’s defence of Moitra, and said an outsider having access to the parliamentary portal through a member’s account can get sensitive documents.

Cash for query: Mahua Moitra admits to sharing parliament login credentials, BJP demands strict action

The BJP MP said that Moitra is a member of the Standing Committee on IT, a sector in which Hiranandani also has an interest. Classified papers related to the work of the committee on health were also there besides the documents linked to data protection measures, he said, asking if the businessman too did not get access to them.
Dubey also alleged that the TMC MP had tried to build a wrong narrative about the proceedings of the Lok Sabha Ethics Committee and said “No power” in the world can save Moitra given the evidence submitted by him, advocate Jai Anant Dehadrai, businessman Darshan Hiranandani, the IT ministry, home ministry and the external affairs ministry in the matter.
(With inputs from agencies)

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