GUWAHATI: In a tumultuous session on December 8, the Lok Sabha expelled Trinamool Congress member Mahua Moitra over allegations of “cash-for-query.”
The decision was reached through a voice vote, orchestrated by Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi, citing the Ethics Committee’s findings.
The motion to expel Moitra was based on the committee’s report, which accused her of sharing credentials, accepting gifts for favours from a businessman, and violating ethical norms.
Amidst vehement protests from the Trinamool Congress, Joshi quoted precedents to reject their plea for Moitra to speak on the House floor.
Speaker Om Birla then called for a vote without allowing her to present her defence.
Opposition members staged a walkout during the vote, expressing their dissatisfaction with the proceedings.
Earlier in the day, Ethics Committee chairman Vinod Kumar Sonkar presented the committee’s first report after the House re-convened.
Chaos ensued as Trinamool Congress members demanded a copy of the report, leading to disruptions.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee voiced her support for Mahua Moitra, expressing surprise at the denial of an opportunity for Moitra to defend herself.
“Today I am really sad to see the attitude of BJP party. A 475-page report was submitted, and after that, they have half an hour time to go through it. I congratulate the INDIA alliance that they supported her. Party fully supports Mahua Moitra. They didn’t allow Mahua to defend herself. It is a betrayal of Constitutional rights. We have a two-third majority in the Assembly; does it mean we will expel someone?” said Chief Minister Banerjee.
The controversy revolves around businessman Darshan Hiranandani’s claim that Moitra was paid to raise questions about the Adani Group in Parliament.
The Ethics Committee adopted its report on November 9, recommending Moitra’s expulsion.
The Opposition members contested the report, terming it a “fixed match” and alleging a lack of evidence.