Mahua Moitra, the leader of the Trinamool Congress, was dismissed from the Lok Sabha as a result of an Ethics Committee investigation into the allegations of “cash for query” made against her. Businessman Darshan Hiranandani allegedly offered Ms. Moitra, 49, bribes ₹ 2 crore in cash and “luxury gift items” in exchange for her raising pointed questions of the administration in Parliament.

Additionally, Ms. Moitra was charged with giving up the login information for her private, confidential account on the parliamentary website so that Mr. Hiranandani could ask questions there. Ms. Moitra, a fervent opponent of the Modi administration, acknowledged disclosing the login credentials but refuted the bribery allegations.

Following a heated debate and voice vote, Mr. Birla declared, “This House endorses the Committee’s judgement that MP Mahua Moitra engaged in immoral and indecent behaviour. Thus, it is inappropriate for her to serve as an MP going forward.”

Mahua Moitra
Mahua Moitra

Mamata Banerjee, the party chief and chief minister of Bengal, described the expulsion of Ms. Moitra as “unacceptable” and claimed that “vendetta politics of (the) BJP had killed democracy”.

“Mahua will prevail in the conflict; justice will be served. “They (BJP) will be defeated in the next election,” Ms. Banerjee declared prior to the general election of the next year, establishing battle lines, if any were needed.

The roughly 500-page report that the Ethics Committee had submitted to the House hours earlier had set off a furious dispute between the opposition, which included Ms. Moitra’s party, and the ruling BJP. During the brief discussion that ensued, enraged opposition Members of Parliament pushed for Ms. Moitra’s right to speak and asked for additional time to review the material.

Speaker of the Lok Sabha Om Birla, however, declined permission, citing the 2005 expulsion of ten MPs—six of them were BJP members—due to a case involving a comparable controversy.

In contrast, Ms. Moitra claimed that the Ethics Committee “broke every rule” when she spoke with media outside of Parliament following her removal. “… Tomorrow, CBI will be sent to my home to harass me…”

The claims against Ms. Moitra have prompted the CBI to launch an investigation.

“Allegations of accepting illegal gratification (are) clearly established and are undeniable,” according to the Ethics Committee report against Ms. Moitra, and “taking gifts from (a) businessman to whom she handed over log-in (details) amounts to a quid pro quo… unbecoming of an MP and is unethical conduct.”

The government should “criminally investigate and unearth the money trail'” about Ms. Moitra’s acceptance of cash as part of the bribery, according to the study, even if it “does not have expertise’ ‘ in this area.

In its final conclusion, the Ethics Committee suggested that “…Smt Mahua Moitra, MP, may be expelled from the membership of the Seventeenth Lok Sabha”. It additionally requested “a legal institutional inquiry by the Government… in view of unethical, heinous, and criminal conduct of Smt Mahua Moitra…”

Previously, Ms. Banerjee said that Ms. Moitra, one of the ruling party’s most vociferous and ferocious critics, was expelled because the BJP “planned” her removal. “… but this will help her before the election,” she replied.