News Brief

More Trouble For Mahua Moitra? CBI Seeks Lok Sabha Ethics Panel Report For Probe In 'Cash For Query' Allegations Against TMC Leader

Kuldeep Negi

Jan 10, 2024, 03:25 PM | Updated 03:25 PM IST

TMC MP Mahua Moitra
TMC MP Mahua Moitra

As part of its investigation in the 'cash-for-query' allegations, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has reached out to the Lok Sabha Secretariat, requesting the Ethics Committee's report that recommneded the expulsion of Trinamool Congress leader Mahua Moitra from Parliament.

The Lok Sabha Secretariat has reportedly not made any decision on CBI's request yet as it is still considering the same.

“The CBI has written to the Secretariat seeking a copy of the Ethics Committee report. We will look into it. We have not made a decision yet,” a source was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.

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The CBI's probe is based on a complaint forwarded by the Lokpal, relating to accusations against Moitra.

If the Lok Sabha Secretariat provide the Ethics Committee report to the investigative agency, giving sanction under Section 17A of the Prevention of Corruption Act, the CBI would be able to file an FIR and further investigate the alleged 'criminal conduct' of the TMC leader.

In its Winter Session, the Lok Sabha had approved the Ethics Committee's report, which called for Moitra's removal on the grounds of “unethical conduct” and “serious misdemeanours”.

The committee also recommended an “intense, legal, institutional inquiry” by the government in a time-bound manner in view of the “highly objectionable, unethical, heinous and criminal conduct” by her.

The allegations had been raised by BJP MP Nishikant Dubey, who wrote to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla claiming Moitra may have taken bribes to protect the interests of the Hiranandani business group.

He wrote another letter to Union IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, urging him to investigate the IP addresses of Moitra’s login credentials to the Lok Sabha website to check if these had been accessed by someone else.

However, opposition parties criticized the Ethics Committee's findings, noting in their dissenting opinions that the panel conducted its probe in “unseemly haste” and with “complete lack of propriety”.

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Kuldeep is Senior Editor (Newsroom) at Swarajya. He tweets at @kaydnegi.

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