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Opposition Leaders Question LS Ethics Panel Report on Expulsion of TMC's Mahua Moitra

“Deposition incomplete”, government doing “vendetta politics”, say Opposition MPs; Walk out from House.
 Mahua Moitra

TMC leader Mahua Moitra Image Courtesy: PTI

New Delhi: Opposition INDIA bloc leaders on Friday questioned the Lok Sabha Ethics Panel recommendation for expelling Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, and accused the BJP-led government of doing "vendetta politics".

The report was tabled in the Lok Sabha on Friday amid an uproar by Opposition MPs who questioned the procedure followed by the panel and demanded a discussion on the report.

"It is a new black day in the new House. A new black chapter is starting today," Congress' leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said.

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MP Danish Ali, who is a member of the ethics panel and was among those who staged a walkout protesting the nature of questions that were asked to Moitra by panel chief Vinod Kumar Sonkar, said the report was incomplete.

"We believe the report is incomplete, because the deposition was not completed. Five MPs walked out and the report was adopted in two-and-a-half minutes. We want a discussion on this. The walkout by MPs was because they were asking filthy questions. It is there in the minutes (of the meeting)," he said.

Rajya Sabha MP from the Communist Party of India Binoy Viswam called it political vendetta.

"The way in which the Ethics Committee was behaving one should feel it is a politically motivated scenario with absolute vendetta. The vendetta was against a critic of the government," he said.

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said the report is an "inadequate document".

"This report is a deeply inadequate document. It fails to meet the basic standards of any report that can come up with such a dramatic recommendation of expulsion. It has also been apparently adopted in two-and-a-half minutes without any serious discussion," Tharoor said.

" cross-examination of those who made the accusations and no fair chance for the person who is being expelled to be heard in her own defence. For INDIA parties this is a travesty of justice," he said.

On similar lines, Priyanka Chaturvedi of the Shiv Sena (UBT) said, "The affidavit on which it is based, the witness was not even called. His statement is golden...What he says is right, what Mahua says is wrong." "Even when she was called they were indulging in character assassination instead of asking issue-based questions. Expulsion will set a very wrong precedent that you can misuse power to throw any MP out of Parliament because they ask sharp questions," she said.

Congress MP Karti Chidambaram, meanwhile, took a jibe at the ruling BJP and said, "This is yet another misadventure on part of BJP. All I can say is if they indulge in this misadventure they will add an extra 50,000 votes to her re-election from her constituency in 2024." Businessman Darshan Hiranandani, who allegedly paid Moitra to raise questions in Parliament about the Adani Group, had claimed in a signed affidavit that the TMC MP from Krishnanagar targeted industrialist Gautam Adani to "malign and embarrass" Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

At a meeting on November 9, the committee adopted its report recommending Moitra's expulsion from the Lok Sabha over the "cash-for-query" allegation. Six members of the panel, including suspended Congress member Preneet Kaur, voted in favour of the report. Four members of the panel belonging to opposition parties submitted dissent notes.

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