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Lok Sabha Ethics Panel Adopts Report on Mahua Moitra, Speaker's Decision Pending

The draft report on corruption allegations against Moitra was adopted by the panel in a 6-4 majority.

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The Lok Sabha Ethics Committee on Thursday, 9 November, adopted its draft report on quid pro allegations levelled against Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra.

The latest: "Six members supported the report while four members submitted their dissent notes," BJP MP and chairperson of the ethics panel Vinod Kumar Sonkar was quoted as saying by PTI.

  • "A detailed report is being submitted to the Lok Sabha Speaker tomorrow...The action, whatever it is, will be taken by the Speaker," Sonkar added.

In a nutshell: Last month, BJP MP Nishikant Dubey had alleged that Moitra had accepted expensive gifts from real estate mogul Darshan Hiranandani in exchange for asking parliamentary questions targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Why it matters: Since Dubey's complaint, the corruption scandal surrounding Moitra has snowballed into a political firestorm – with various claims, counter-claims, and denials.

"Even if they expel me, I will be back in next Lok Sabha with bigger mandate," TMC MP Mahua Moitra was quoted as saying by news agency PTI, after reports emerged that the ethics panel had recommended her expulsion from Parliament.
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  1. Who All Are Part of the Lok Sabha Ethics Committee?

    Chaired by BJP MP Vinod Kumar Sonkar, the Lok Sabha Ethics Committee is made up of the following 14 MPs:

    1. Bhamre Subhash Ramrao (BJP)

    2. Sunita Duggal (BJP)

    3. Hemant Tukaram Godse (Shiv Sena)

    4. Preneet Kaur (Congress)

    5. Danish Ali Kunwar (BSP)

    6. PR Natarajan (CPI(M))

    7. Uttam Kumar Nalamada Reddy (Congress)

    8. Rajdeep Roy (BJP)

    9. Aparajita Sarangi (BJP)

    10. Sumedhanand Saraswati (BJP)

    11. Vishnu Datt Sharma (BJP)

    12. Balashowry Vallabbhaneni (YSR Congress)

    13. Vaithilingam Ve (Congress)

    14. Giridhari Yadav (JD(U))

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What they're saying: "After the Committee chairman came in, the meeting concluded in 2.5 minutes. There was no discussion on the report. Is this the way to do things? Proceedings of the first day of meeting were not included in the report," claimed Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MP Danish Ali, who is part of the ethics panel.

  • “It shows how, if someone wants to fight against the government, question the role of the government, question the Adanis, an attempt is made to remove them from the post of MP. How can action be taken against someone without anything being proved?” said TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee.

The story so far: On 15 October, BJP MP Nishikant Dubey wrote a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, demanding to constitute an inquiry committee against TMC MP Mahua Moitra and her 'immediate suspension' from the House.

  • Then, Speaker Birla referred the matter to the Lok Sabha Ethics Committee, which is headed by BJP MP Vinod Kumar Sonkar.

  • On 19 October, an explosive affidavit purportedly submitted by businessman Darshan Hiranandani to the ethics panel emerged online.

  • On 27 October, Dubey appeared before the ethics panel along with Moitra's former "friend" and advocate Jai Anant Dehradai who purportedly has evidence forming the basis of the allegations.

  • On 2 November, TMC MP Mahua Moitra appeared before the committee but walked out over the panel's "personal and unethical questions."

  • On 8 November, Dubey tweeted that anti-corruption watchdog Lokpal has ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe the corruption allegations against Moitra.

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