'Cash For Query' Row: Mahua Moitra Admits Giving Parliament Login Credentials To Darshan Hiranandani, But Denies Taking Bribe

'Cash For Query' Row: Mahua Moitra Admits Giving Parliament Login Credentials To Darshan Hiranandani, But Denies Taking Bribe

In an interview with India Today, she refuted allegations of accepting bribes from Hiranandani and requested the opportunity to conduct cross-examination of him.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Saturday, October 28, 2023, 05:07 PM IST
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Darshan Hiranandani (L) and Mahua Moitra (R) |

Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra stated on Friday that the sole items she had received from Darshan Hiranandani, the CEO of the Hiranandani Group, as presents were "one scarf, some lipsticks, and other makeup items including eye shadow". However, she acknowledged allowing him to utilize her Lok Sabha login credentials to post questions that she asserted were her own. In an interview with India Today, she refuted allegations of accepting bribes from Hiranandani and requested the opportunity to conduct cross-examination of him.

Mahua's woes worsen as matter goes to ethics committee

These comments arise in the midst of allegations suggesting that she received gifts from Hiranandani in exchange for raising questions in Parliament. The Parliament's Ethics Committee has called upon her to present her defense on October 31. However, Moitra has requested additional time due to prior commitments in her Krishnanagar constituency. Many members of the Ethics Committee have expressed the view that the accusations against Moitra are of a serious nature and could be construed as a violation of parliamentary privilege. BJP MP Nishikant Dubey and Delhi-based lawyer Jai Anant Dehadrai have already provided their testimonies and submitted evidence against the Trinamool MP.

Moitra also slammed Dehadrai, asserting that he was not entitled to the national attention he was receiving. She additionally claimed that his complaint against her was driven by the contentious custody dispute they were both engaged in regarding their pet dog, Henry.

Moitra's justification for sharing login credentials with Hiranandani

Moitra justified her practice of sharing login credentials with Hiranandani, explaining that she had employed a similar approach with others due to her work being based in a remote constituency. She added that there was always a one-time password (OTP), and her team would consistently submit her queries on her behalf. She asserted that the NIC (National Informatics Centre), responsible for operating government and parliamentary websites, had no regulations prohibiting this practice.

Dubey countered this by posting a tweet in which he shared the rules outlined by the NIC and a mandatory form that every parliamentarian was required to complete. These guidelines included directives to maintain the confidentiality of login credentials and to inform the NIC in the event of an alternate user, emphasizing the potential security ramifications of any breach.

Additionally, Dubey called for an investigation into alleged attempts to exert influence over Hiranandani and inquired about any potential contact between Moitra and him. It's worth noting that Hiranandani is a witness in this case, having provided a signed affidavit that substantiates the allegations raised against Moitra by both Dubey and Dehadrai.

Moitra on allegations of Hiranandani renovating her house

Moitra clarified that the items she had received from the businessman, whom she described as a close personal friend, included a scarf as a birthday gift, lipsticks, and makeup products from Bobbi Brown. She explained that the makeup items were purchased for her from the duty-free store in Dubai. Furthermore, she mentioned that she had sought his advice for making changes to her home's interior, and he had presented her with new architectural plans and drawings, although the expenses were covered by the CPWD, which falls under government purview.

"When I was allotted my personal bungalow, it was in a dilapidated state. I asked Darshan if he could get one of his architects how the doors can be re-designed so light can come in," stated Moitra, while displaying images of the designs provided to her by architects associated with Hiranandani, which included room layouts and kitchen plans. She affirmed that these designs were subsequently submitted to the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) and asserted that the CPWD oversaw the renovation of her bungalow. Furthermore, she mentioned that when she was in Mumbai, she occasionally used Hiranandani's vehicle, as he was a close friend.

No cash received from Hiranandani: Moitra

"I would urge Darshan Hiranandani to come immediately and put on record if he has given anything else to me. Anyone can make an allegation, but the onus is always on the complainant to prove those allegations. There's no mention of ₹ 2 crore cash given to me in the affidavit. If cash is being given, please tell the date and provide all the documentary evidence," the TMC MP said.

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