An Ethics Committee voluminous report submitted in the House on Friday recommended expulsion of TMC MP Mahua Moitra from Lok Sabha and sought an investigation from the government in the cash-for-query scandal. This is the first time a sitting MP is set to lose membership on the recommendation of a Lok Sabha Ethics Committee finding.

The House has to vote in favour of the panel report to ensure that Moitra — accused of giving access to Darshan Hiranandani in lieu of monitory benefits her Lok Sabha portal email — who subsequently used it to pose questions against Adani group, is ousted from the House of Representatives.

Headed by BJP MP Vinod Kumar Sonkar, the Lok Sabha Ethics Committee found the TMC MP’s conduct highly objectionable, unethical, heinous and criminal. Owing to that, the panel recommended an intense, legal, institutional inquiry by the government in a time-bound manner.

political vendata

After the report was submitted in the House amidst opposition uproar, TMC MP Kalyan Banerjee stated the party wrote to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, requesting to give at least 48 hours to read the panel report seeking the expulsion of Moitra. The TMC called the report as a “political vendetta” done in haste and without following procedure.

Congress too shared the TMC’s outrage, with its MP Shashi Tharoor calling it “incredibly inadequate report”. He observed that expelling an MP from the House in the absence of a proper procedure will set an undesirable precedent for the future. “It seems to have been adopted in two and a half minutes, according to one of the members. There has been no proper procedure followed, no attempt to cross-examine those who have made accusations and at the same time the conclusion of such a major punishment as expulsion of a Member - to arrive that without serious consideration is truly disgraceful,” he said.

Split of votes

The report was supposed to be tabled on the first day of the session on December 4 but was postponed for Friday. The Ethics Committee at a meeting on November 9 adopted its report, with its six members, from the BJP and suspended Congress MP and wife of former Punjab CM Amarinder Singh, Preneet Kaur, who voted in favour of the report. While four members of the panel belonging to opposition parties submitted dissent notes.

The opposition members had raised questions over the way panel conducted investigation and adopted process to submit its findings. Ahead of tabling of the report, Congress Leader of Opposition (LoP) in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury wrote a letter to the Lok Sabha Speaker, seeking a “review” of “jurisdiction” and “processes” followed by panel in the cash-for-query case against the TMC MP Moitra.

BJP Lok Sabha member Nishikant Dubey, who was the complainant in the cash-for-query scandal, had earlier stated that Lokpal has sought a CBI inquiry against Moitra in the same matter on his written request.

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