Mahua Moitra’s 10-point defence against Adani–BJP campaign and media trial
Mocking the "poorly constructed hit job" against her by "fascists and a Jharkhandi pitbull", Lok Sabha MP Mahua Moitra responded to charges against her on TV
Two Lok Sabha MPs approached her twice in the last three years with the plea that she sit across the table with Mr Gautam Adani and sort out her issues, alleged Mahua Moitra late in the evening of Friday, 27 October, on India Today TV.
She repeated her allegation that overtures were made to her even last week to keep quiet about the Adani Group until the 2024 election, and not link Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s name to the group.
The beleaguered MP, accused of accepting cash and expensive gifts to ask questions in Parliament against the Adani Group, said she was appearing on TV to counter the smear campaign and media trial against her. She would not be cowed down and will continue to ‘gun for Mr Adani’ because the Adani Group, she claimed, had perpetrated the biggest of frauds on the people of this country.
Her rebuttals to allegations made by her former partner, a lawyer, and to the ‘approver affidavit’ submitted by her friend, real-estate developer Darshan Hiranandani, were the following:
1. Jay Anant Dehadrai accuses her of accepting Rs 2 crore in cash from Hiranandani to ask questions against Adani in Parliament, without any proof. Hiranandani’s affidavit corroborating the charge makes no mention of cash.
2. Hiranandani did buy lipstick and eye shadows for her from the duty-free shop at the Dubai Airport four or five times.
3. On her four or five visits to Mumbai, she stayed with her friend; but Hiranandani’s car and driver would pick her up and drop her back at the airport.
4. Her government bungalow was renovated by the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) and no private contractor entered the bungalow.
5. At her request, however, Hiranandani, as a ‘friend’, had lent her the services of his architect, who prepared four engineering drawings for the CPWD.
6. She had used Hiranandani’s office assistant in Dubai to key in questions and post them to the NIC portal after she shared with the assistant the OTP received on her registered mobile number.
7. She had similarly filed questions from Cambridge and from Switzerland too, taking advantage of the online submission system introduced in 2019, and taken help from relatives and friends to key them in from remote locations.
8. Since there are no rules framed yet for online submission of questions and there is no bar on submitting questions from anywhere in the world, what is the fuss about national security?
9. Darshan Hiranandani has been her friend since before she became an MP and was not a competitor to Adani at the time.
10. She had asked questions on the Dhamra port issue because two public sector units, IOL and GAIL, had paid the Adani conglomerate 10 times the cost at which Adani had paid for a similar port. The PSUs also went out of their way to sign a 20-year agreement with Adani to use the port. Darshan Hiranandani did not bid for it.
While she would like to place the facts before the court of public opinion, Moitra said, she added that was appalled by the conduct of the Ethics Committee of the Lok Sabha — which failed to examine her first and rushed to the media with unsubstantiated allegations against her, she added.