Mahua Moitra, an Indian Member of Parliament (MP) known for her strong criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has become embroiled in a controversy regarding alleged misconduct in parliament.
Nishikant Dubey, a BJP lawmaker, has accused Mahua Moitra, who belongs to the opposition Trinamool Congress party (TMC), of soliciting bribes in exchange for asking questions in parliament. Mr. Dubey alleges that Ms. Moitra posed several questions targeting the Adani Group, a major business conglomerate owned by one of Asia’s wealthiest individuals, Gautam Adani, in return for gifts and cash from a businessman.
Ms. Moitra has vehemently denied these allegations and expressed her willingness to undergo any form of inquiry. A parliamentary ethics committee initiated hearings on this matter recently.
According to political experts, the committee lacks the authority to penalize Ms. Moitra, even if it reaches an adverse conclusion, as it lacks executive powers. The house must consider its recommendations and then decide whether to accept or reject them. If parliament were to expel Ms. Moitra, she could challenge that decision in a court of law.
The Adani Group‘s financial activities came under scrutiny in January after a report by Hindenburg Research, a US firm specializing in “short-selling,” accused the conglomerate of engaging in decades of “blatant” stock manipulation and accounting fraud. Despite the Adani Group refuting these allegations and branding the report as “malicious,”
Since then, Ms. Moitra and numerous opposition lawmakers have called for a government investigation into the allegations against the Adani Group. Presently, India’s market regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), is examining the accusations against the firm.
On October 15, Mr. Dubey penned a letter to the lower house of parliament’s speaker, sharing information he received from an advocate named Jai Anant Dehadrai. In his letter, Mr. Dubey contended that Mr. Dehadrai, whom Ms. Moitra has described as a “disgruntled former acquaintance,” had provided “indisputable evidence of exchanged bribes” between her and businessman Darshan Hiranandani, with the intention of targeting the Adani Group and Mr. Modi.