Adhir Ranjan to LS speaker: Mahua Moitra expulsion extremely serious punishment

The Ethics Committee report recommending Moitra's expulsion is likely to be tabled in Parliament on Monday

Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury (photo: National Herald archives)
Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury (photo: National Herald archives)

NH Political Bureau

Congress leader and leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has written to Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla, expressing concern over the expulsion of Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Mahua Moitra from Parliament.

In his letter, Chowdhury emphasised the gravity of the punishment in the 'cash-for-query' allegations against Moitra, and highlighted the absence of a clear definition of "unethical conduct" and the lack of a formulated "code of conduct" for Lower House MPs.

Chowdhury, who is normally critical of the TMC, assured the speaker that he trusts no injustice will be done under his leadership. He pointed out that before Moitra's case, the Lok Sabha Ethics Committee had mainly dealt with complaints leading to admonition, reprimand, or suspension, and the recommended punitive actions were limited.

Chowdhury's letter assumes significance as the ethics panel is set to submit its report on Monday 4 December, recommending Moitra's expulsion for the remainder of the current Lok Sabha.

Chowdhury questioned the unprecedented nature of the recommendation, and highlighted that expulsion from Parliament is a severe punishment with wide ramifications.

Other Opposition leaders have also expressed their opposition to any government move to expel Moitra. Chowdhury noted in his letter that Dubai-based businessman Darshan Hiranandani, allegedly involved in the "cash-for-query" case, did not depose before the committee, and the motives behind his actions remain unclear.

Chowdhury argued that accepting and giving gifts, a common social practice, should not be equated with a money trail for deriving favours. He distinguished Moitra's case from the 2005 "cash-for-query" scam, emphasising the lack of a clear money trail and adherence to established procedures.

The Congress leader raised concerns about the breach of confidentiality in Moitra's case, as the chairman and complainant openly expressed their views. He urged the speaker to examine the processes related to jurisdiction and procedures, advocating for measures to streamline the functioning of Parliament and ensure justice for all members.

Chowdhury concluded the letter by expressing confidence in the speaker's leadership and called for a thorough examination of the processes to benefit all members of the house.

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