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Lok Sabha expels TMC MP Mahua Moitra in 'cash-for-query' case

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Mahua Moitra Lok Sabha

TMC MP Mahua Moitra (File image)

New Delhi: Trinamool Congress leader Mahua Moitra was expelled on Friday from the Lok Sabha after the House adopted the report of its Ethics Committee that held her guilty of accepting gifts and illegal gratification from a businessman to further his interest.

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After a heated debate over the panel report during which Moitra was not allowed to speak, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi moved a motion to expel the Trinamool member for "unethical conduct", which was adopted by a voice vote.

Reacting sharply to her expulsion, Moitra equated the action with hanging by a "kangaroo court" and alleged a parliamentary panel was being weaponised by the government to force the opposition into submission.

She told reporters that she has been found guilty of breaching a code of ethics that does not exist and that there was no evidence of cash or gift given to her.

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The Ethics Committee report found Moitra guilty of "unethical conduct" and contempt of the House by sharing her Lok Sabha credentials -- User ID and Password of Lok Sabha Member's Portal, with unauthorised persons which had an irrepressible impact on national security.

The motion moved by Joshi said that Moitra’s "conduct has further been found to be unbecoming as a member of parliament for accepting gifts and illegal gratification from a businessman to further his interest which is a serious misdemeanour and highly deplorable conduct" on her part.

Joshi urged the House to accept the recommendation and finding of the committee and "resolve that continuance of Mahua Moitra as member of Lok Sabha is untenable and she may be expelled from the membership of the Lok Sabha".

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Trinamool Congress and other opposition members demanded that Moitra be allowed to put her views in the House, which was turned down by Speaker Om Birla citing past precedence.

Birla observed that in 2005, the then Speaker Somnath Chatterjee had in a directive disallowed 10 Lok Sabha members, who were involved in a 'cash for questions' scam, to speak in the House.

Joshi said in 2005 the then Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee had moved a motion to expel 10 members on the same day the report was introduced in the Lok Sabha.

Earlier, Ethics Committee Chairman Vinod Kumar Sonkar tabled the first report of the Committee on the complaint filed by BJP member Nishikant Dubey against Moitra.

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