Mahua Moitra Cash for Query scandal

BJP MP Nishikant Dubey had accused Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra of taking "cash and gifts" from businessman Darshan Hiranandani to "ask questions in Parliament

Mahua Moitra Cash for Query scandal

Vinod Sonkar, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee of Ethics today (October 20) informed that he has received an affidavit from the businessman Darshan Hiranandani regarding the ‘Cash for Query’ scandal which mentions the alleged role played by TMC MP Mahua Moitra in this row.”I have received a letter/affidavit from Darshan Hiranandani,” Ethics Panel chairman Sonkar said. 

In his 3-page signed affidavit to the Ethics panel, Darshan Hiranandani had admitted to his friendship with the TMC MP Mahua Moitra and claimed that the Lok Sabha Member saw attacking the Adani group as a route to fame.”She became Lok Sabha MP in May 2019. She was advised by her friends that the shortest route to fame was by attacking Narendra Modi. She thought that the only way to attack PM Modi was by attacking Gautam Adani and his group as they both come from Gujarat,” Hiranandani’s affidavit read.

Hiranandani had further claimed that Mahua Moitra did share her Parliament Login credentials with him. “She knew that Indian Oil Corporation was getting into an arrangement with Dhamra LNG a joint venture of the Adani group. She drafted a few questions that she could raise in parliament that would have elements to embarrass the Govt and target the Adani group. She shared with me her email ID as MP, so I could send her information and she could raise the questions. I went along with her proposal,” the affidavit read.

Hiranandani also claims that the TMC MP also demanded favours and gifts from him. However, Mahua Moitra has rejected the claims made in the affidavit and said that it looks as if the affidavit was drafted under pressure from the BJP. Questioning the credibility of Darshan Hiranandani’s affidavit, TMC MP Mahua Moitra said, “The affidavit is on white paper, and not an official letterhead or notarized. Why would one of India’s most respected/educated businessmen sign a letter like this on white paper unless a gun was put on his head to do it?

Alleging that Businessman Hiranandani was compelled to sign the letter, Moitra said, “The PMO held a proverbial gun to Darshan and his father’s heads and gave them 20 minutes to sign this letter sent to them. They were threatened with a total shutdown of all their businesses. They were told they would be finished, the CBI would raid them and all government business would stop and all PSU bank financing would be stopped immediately. “Meanwhile, Advocate Jai Anant Dehadrai on Friday alleged that attempts were made towards him to withdraw his complaint registered at the Central Bureau of Investigation.

According to BJP MP Nishikant Dubey’s complaint to the Parliament Ethics Committee, Advocate Dehadrai had provided him proof of TMC MP Mahua Moitra’s involvement in the alleged ‘Cash for Query’ scandal. “An attempt was made yesterday afternoon, to coerce me into withdrawing my CBI complaint and letter to Nishikant Dubey, in exchange for Henry (his dog),” the advocate posted on X (former Twitter).

Earlier Nishikant Dubey in his letter to the Lok Sabha Speaker, titled “Re-emergence of nasty ‘Cash for Query’ in Parliament had alleged serious Breach of Privilege, ‘Contempt of the House’ and a ‘Criminal Offence’ under Section 120A of IPC” by the Trinamool Congress MP. Dubey claimed that Advocate, Jai Anant Dehadrai had provided him with proof of alleged bribes. In her response to this letter, the TMC MP had said that she would welcome a probe by the speaker after he dealt with the alleged breach of privilege by other BJP MPs.

Mahua Moitra sends legal notice to BJP’s Nishikant Dubey, Advocate Dehadrai over ‘false allegations’

Trinamool Congress Lok Sabha MP Mahua Motra has sent legal notices to Bhartiya Janta Party MP Nishikant Dubey over “false and defamatory allegations against her.
BJP MP Nishikant Dubey had on Sunday accused Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra of taking “cash and gifts” from businessman Darshan Hiranandani to “ask questions in Parliament”. Responding to the allegations, Moitra had said the CBI is welcome to investigate the matter.

Dubey wrote to Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla seeking an inquiry against Moitra and her immediate suspension from the House for taking cash for question.

In his letter, Dubey said that he is in receipt of a letter from Jai Anant Dehadrai, an advocate, wherein, he has shared irrefutable evidence of bribes exchanged between Moitra and Darshan Hiranandani, a well known business tycoon, to ask question(s) in Parliament in exchange for ‘cash’ and ‘gifts’. “It appeared that the representationist, Dehadrai has made elaborate and painstaking research on the basis of which he has concluded that quite recently, Moitra asked approximately 50 questions in Parliament of the total 61 posted by her, which shockingly pertain to the protect the business interests of Darshan Hiranandani and his company,” the BJP MP alleged.

He further said that the entire conspiracy does not end here but an attempt has been cleverly crafted to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah so that everybody gets an impression that being in opposition, Moitra is criticising the government. “The representationist has also forwarded all the relevant papers/documents in support of his information which I am enclosing along with my instant letter,” he claimed. “After having meticulously gone through all the papers or documents, there is not an iota of doubt about a criminal conspiracy hatched by Moitra, Member of Parliament to garner and protect the business interests of Hiranandani – by asking Parliamentary Questions, which is reminiscent of ‘Cash for Query’ episode of 12 December, 2005. All these nefarious and abhorable acts of Moitra is a clear case of ‘Breach of Privilege’, ‘Contempt of the House’ and also a criminal offence under Section 120-A of the Indian Penal Code,” he said.

He further said that whenever there is Parliament session, the shouting brigade of All India Trinamool Congress, led by Moitra and Saugata Roy, are in habit of disrupting the proceedings of the House by their continual abuses on each and every body on one pretext or the other. “I along with scores of other Members of Parliament were always perplexed as to why this ‘shouting brigade’ of TMC, lead by Moitra indulges in such tactics, which is purely snatching the Constitutional rights of other members to debate and discuss the issues of common people and policies of the government,” Dubey said.

“Now, with the unmasking of quid pro quo in form of the ugly and deliberate motive of Moitra to raise money from a businessman in lieu of asking questions in Lok Sabha, it has become amply clear that the edifice of ‘morality’ being exhibited by Moitra was nothing but a ‘Machiavellian Camouflage’ for committing a crime by entering into a criminal conspiracy and at the same time enjoying the title given to Smt Mahua Moitra as a ‘firebrand Memb of Parliament’, which is nothing but a sham,” he alleged.

“Since the instant episode is nothing but a re-emergence of ‘Cash for Query’ by Moitra, I humbly request your goodself to constitute an ‘Inquiry Committee’, by following the past precedent. I also request you that during the interregnum period, i.e. constitution of an ‘Inquiry Committee’ and its submission of Report, Moitra may be immediately suspended from the services of the House so that she may not be able to enter into Parliament precincts and does not further attempt to vitiate the serene atmosphere of Parliament,” Dubey added.

Meanwhile, reacting to Dubey’s allegation, Moitra hit back and took to X, and in a series of tweets, said: “Multiple breach of privileges pending against fake degreewala and other BJP luminaries. Welcome any motions against me right after Speaker finishes dealing with those. Also waiting for ED and others to file FIR in Adani coal scam before coming to my doorstep”.

“Also welcome CBI enquiry into my alleged money laundering right after they finish investigating Adani’s offshore money trail, over invoicing, benami accounts. Adani may use BJP agencies to browbeat competition and buy airports but just try doing it with me,” she added.


I, Darshan Hiranandani, holding Passport No. 24976261, residing at Dubai Marina, Dubai state on solemn affirmation as follows:

1. I have come across a letter dated 14th October 2023 addressed by Sh. Jai Anant Dehadrai (“Sh. Dehadrai”) to the Director, Central Bureau oflnvestigation. Similarly, I have also come across a letter of 14th October 2023, addressed by Sh. Dehadrai to Sh. Nishikant Dubey (“Shri Dubey”), Member of Parliament. In the days that followed, I have come across several reports by numerous news agencies on the contents of both the letters. All this has been forwarded to me by persons known to me as they have come across it on social media. As my name prominently figures in the letter, I have been closely watching and monitoring the developments on the issue raked up by the aforesaid letters.

2. It has come to my attention that Ms. Mahua Moitra (“Ms. Moitra”) has commenced proceedings against Sh. Dehadrai and Sh. Dubey for defamation. Similarly, it has also come to my notice that the issues raised in the letters have been referred to the Ethics Committee of Parliament.

3. On a considered basis, I am making the present affidavit to place on record all relevant facts which are known to me and presently occur to me as relevant and relatable to the issues which are raised in the letters under reference.

4. I know Ms Moitra since I met her at Bengal Global Business Summit 2017, when she was a West Bengal, MLA and designated to engage with visiting industrialists at the summit. In my interactions with her at the summit, I found her to be knowledgable, expressive and outspoken. We exchanged contact details and remained in touch ever since. Over a period of time she has been a close personal friend of mine.

5. In the course of my interactions with her, I found her to be a bright intellectual and one of the public representatives that thoroughly understands both the economy and business matters. I believe she found me to be intelligent having many views on the other side of the political spectrum I ideological aisle and probably another reason for our close friendship.

6. On many an occasion in India, especially in Kolkata, Delhi or Mumbai, or overseas, we met socially. We used to communicate frequently on telephone, ranging from weekly to daily calls. We frequently met when I came to India or when she visited Dubai.

7. However, as our interactions grew over time, she started asking for odds and ends which involved my time. Once she asked you for something, it was always a drop everything and do it now for me approach. She was dominating by nature and assertive in her temperament. She would always say, it was always urgent and critical for her and would slowly take control of your time. It was a way ofreeling in your interest and in some way controlling some of your actions.

8. She became a Lok Sabha MP from Krishnanagar, West Bengal in May 2019. It was an important victory for her and one she was determined to use to further her personal career. She told me that she was offered a Rajya Sabha seat twice which she refused because she only wanted to come to Parliament from the Lok Sabha. Consequently, she was allotted 9B Telegraph Lane as her official Member of Parliament residence. This victory was transformational. It catapulted her to a national stage. It enabled her to know and be known by the most influential people domestically and globally. On numerous occasions, I hosted her, along with other friends, or joined her for lunch or dinner or attended social events where she was also present.

9. Ms. Mahua Moitra was very ambitious and wanted to quickly make a name for herself at the national level. She was advised by her friends and advisors that the shortest possible route to fame is by personally attacking Shri Narendra Modi, the honourable Prime Minister of India. The only problem was that Sh. Modi enjoyed an impeccable reputation and was not giving any opportunity to anyone to attack him in policy, governance or personal conduct. As was her wont, she thought that the only way to attack Sh. Modi is by attacking Sh. Gautam Adani and his group as both were contemporaries, and they belong to the same state of Gujarat. She was helped by the fact that the rise of Sh. Gautam Adani had created jealousy and detractors among some sections of businesses, politics and media, both within and outside the country. So she expected support from these sections in her endeavour to malign and embarrass the Prime Minister by targeting Sh. Adani. She knew that Indian Oil Corporation preferring to get into a long term off-take agreement with Dhamra LNG, a joint venture company of the Adani group, and not with my

companies. Based on this information, Ms. Moitra drafted a few questions that would have elements to embarrass the Government by targeting the Adani group; questions that she could raise in Parliament. She shared with me her email ID as Member of Parliament, so that I could send her information, and she could raise the questions in the Parliament. I went along with her proposal.

10. She was delighted at the response she received from the first set of questions that I had sent her relating to the Adani group. She told me that she was particularly happy with the response and support she got from the Opposition members and certain sections of media. She therefore requested me to keep supporting her in her attacks on the Adani group and provided me her Parliament login and password so that I could post the questions directly on her behalf when required.

11. Ms Moitra, in her endeavour, was getting help from other people like Sucheta Dalal, Shardul Shroff and Pallavi Shroff, who were also in touch with her, and who were feeding her with all kinds of unverified information relating to Sh. Gautam Adani and his companies. Clearly, there were others who were also assisting her in this targeted attack. She had interactions with many Congress leaders, including Sh. Rahul Gandhi, on matters relating to Adani companies. She also had frequent interactions with international journalists from the Financial Times, the New York Times, the BBC and also with several Indian publications. She also received unverified details from several sources, including some claiming to be former Adani group employees. Certain information was shared with me, based on which I continued to draft and post questions using her Parliamentary login whenever needed.

12. Over a period, my friendship with Ms Mahua Moitra grew. I also felt that, through her, I would get support in other States ruled by the Opposition, because she bonded extremely well with other leaders of the Opposition like Sh. Gandhi, Sh. Shashi Tharoor and Sh. Pinaki Mishra, with whom also she shared close relations. Importantly, she also made frequent demands of me and kept asking me for various favours, which I had to fulfil in order to remain in close proximity with her and get her support. The demands that were made and favours that were asked included, gifting her expensive luxury items, providing support on renovation of her officially allotted bungalow in Delhi, travel expenses, holidays, etc, apart from providing secretarial and logistical help for her travels within India and to different parts of the world. I could ill-afford to displease her. Many a times I felt that she was taking undue advantage of me and pressurising me to do things I didn’t want to, but I had no choice, because of the aforementioned reasons.

Since this matter involves me directly and has snowballed into a political controversy with the Parliamentary Privilege Committee and the judiciary also now seized of the matter, I consider it incumbent upon me to state the facts, in public interest, through this sworn affidavit.

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