NEW DELHI: The Lok Sabha ethics panel’s bid to record the statement of Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra in the “cash for query” affair remained inconclusive on Thursday and ended on a stormy note as opposition members of the committee stormed out of the meeting along with Moitra, accusing the panel’s chairman of asking “personal and unethical questions”.
The committee continued the deliberations after the walkout.
An anguished Moitra wrote to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla that the ethics committee chairperson had subjected her to the proverbial “Vastraharan” by his unethical, sordid and prejudiced stance to her. She alleged that the committee had neither any ethics nor morality.

“Humiliating a female MP by asking irrelevant questions — one of these, for example, was on who I speak to at night, how many times and asking for those call details — is a breach to my fundamental right to privacy, apart from being in extremely poor taste,” Moitra wrote, asking the Speaker for his protection from such personal humiliation and malicious conduct by the committee.
Committee chairman Vinod Sonkar, who belongs to the BJP, later hit back against the attempt to distract attention from the grave charges of corruption against the TMC MP.

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

Talking to reporters after the meeting ended, Sonkar claimed that objectionable words were used against the committee’s chairman and its members. “Instead of giving answers, she (Moitra) got angry and used unparliamentary language for the chairman and committee members. Danish Ali, Girdhari Yadav and other opposition MPs tried to accuse the committee and walked out. The committee will sit and decide further action for such unparliamentary behaviour,” Sonkar said.
Moitra also pointed out that five members of the 11-member committee had walked out in protest against the behaviour meted out to her. Moitra said the chairperson asked her “detailed and extremely personal questions against my private life” and also insinuated “about my dignity as a woman” — maters which were irrelevant to the issue being probed by the committee.
Sonkar said, “Allegations of corruption against Mahua are grave in nature, probably she did not want to answer the questions, which were based on the affidavits and other testimonies.”

Cash for query case: TMC MP Mahua Moitra to appear before Lok Sabha ethics panel on November 2

After walking out, Congress MP and panel member N Uttam Kumar Reddy said the chairman’s questions to Moitra were “undignified and unethical”. Opposition members of the committee, which had asked Moitra to depose before it in connection with cash-for-query allegations against her, also questioned the manner in which the meeting was conducted.
Moitra said the opposition MPs present in the meeting referred to the line of questioning as “Cheerharan (disrobing a woman)”, boycotted the proceedings and walked out. She, on her part, excused herself from the proceedings after two hours because it was against her “dignity and rights” to be subjected to such filthy line of questioning by the chairperson.
After the meeting, BJP MP and panel member Aparajita Sarangi said Moitra behaved in an angry, rude and arrogant manner when she was asked about the affidavit submitted by businessman Darshan Hiranandani. Moitra has acknowledged that she let Hiranandani use her Parliament log-in, something which is a violation of the contract, but had claimed that there was no quid pro quo arrangement.
Sources said a large part of her deposition was about her relationship with Supreme Court lawyer Jay Anant Dehadrai, whom she appeared to blame for the leaks and allegations. Talking to reporters separately, Nishikanth Dubey said Moitra tried to create a “wrong narrative” about the proceedings and the opposition was perturbed that the ethics panel was headed by an OBC MP.

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