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HomeindiaOpposition MPs submit dissent notes over ethics panel's proposal to expel Mahua

Opposition MPs submit dissent notes over ethics panel's proposal to expel Mahua

New Delhi: Five Opposition MPs on Thursday submitted dissent notes against the Lok Sabha Ethics Committee report recommending expulsion of Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra from Parliament in the ‘cash for query’ case, saying it has “nothing to do with ethics” but everything to with vindictive political vendetta”.

Sources said the Opposition MPs claimed in their dissent notes that the inquiry process was a “farce and indeed a proverbial kangaroo court” while insisting the complaint filed by two people with animosity towards the MP has “no merit, is unfounded and without a shred of evidence and is being used to defame” a woman MP.

Four MPs — PR Natarajan (CPIM), Danish Ali (BSP), V Vaithilingam (Congress) and Girdhari Yadav (JDU) — who were present in the meeting submitted their dissent notes in person. Sources said Reddy, who could not attend the meeting as he was in Telangana filing his nomination for Assembly election — emailed his dissent note.

The dissent notes by the Opposition MPs, which were more or less similar in nature, expressed their “strong dissent” not just to the report but also the “entirely illegal and unprecedented manner of functioning” of the panel itself.

One of the Opposition members said he was shocked at the “unseemly haste and complete lack of propriety and legal requirements” in the proceedings. The member questioned why the Speaker forwarded an allegation of a person with animosity with the MP was forwarded for action by another MP who has also has a history of animosity to her.

Another MP, sources said, alleged that the draft report was a “fixed match from day one” while questioning how a news channel accessed the draft report before being placed before the committee.

Sources said the Opposition MPs were of the view that an ethics complaint is it cannot be “false, frivolous, vexatious” and has to be made in good faith. They warned that this episode will set a “dangerous precedent” and open up MPs to “all sorts of harassment by interested parties”.

The MPs argued that there was “no documentary evidence” of any cash or kind in bribe, being either given or taken, was provided by the complainant either in the written complaint or at the oral hearing on October 26.

They also questioned the draft report’s contention on log-in, saying no rules exist and none were provided to any MP. It said all MPs use assistants, interns, relatives and friends for help in Parliamentary work. “The charge of national security is patently absurd. If the NIC portal is so secret, then rules should have been framed and access from foreign IP addresses should have been blocked,” one of the MPs was quoted as saying in his dissent note.

The MPs were also of the view that the deposition of Mahua on November 2 was “incomplete” and no MP, apart from the chairperson, was allowed to raise questions. They accused the chairperson of having a “prepared script” to question her and it was “totally prejudiced, irrelevant, derogatory and damaging to the dignity of a woman MP”.

They also objected to businessman Darshan Hiranandani not being summoned for cross examination by Mahua.

(Published 09 November 2023, 18:12 IST)

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