Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra said on Friday that all he received as gifts from Hiranandani Group CEO Darshan Hiranandani was “a scarf, some lipsticks and other make-up items including eye shadow”. However, she posts a question that she claims is hers, using the Lok Sabha login credentials that she admitted to have given to him. In an interview with India Today, she denied the allegations of accepting bribes from Mr. Hiranandani and asked for an opportunity to be cross-examined.
Her remarks came amid allegations that she had accepted gifts from Mr Hiranandani in exchange for questions in Parliament. Parliament’s ethics committee summoned Moitra on October 31 to defend him, but he asked for more time citing “pre-committed programs” in his constituency Krishnanagar. Most Ethics Committee members said the charges against Moitra were serious in nature and amounted to a breach of parliamentary privilege. BJP MP Nishikant Dubey and Delhi-based lawyer Jai Anant Dehadrai have already recorded their statements and given evidence against the Trinamool MP.
Mr Moitra also slammed Mr Dehadrai on Friday, saying he did not deserve national importance. She also said his complaints against her were motivated by a bitter custody battle the two had been fighting over her dog, Henry.
Mr Moitra defended sharing his login credentials with Mr Hiranandani, saying he had done the same with others “as he was working in a remote constituency”. “But the OTP was always there and the team was always posting my questions,” she said, claiming that the NIC, which runs government and parliamentary websites, had no rules against this.
Dubey responded in a tweet, posting the rules specified by the NIC and the forms that all MPs are required to fill out. These include instructions to keep credentials private and confidential and to notify her NIC of an alternate user, as any breach could have security implications.
Mr. Dubey also demanded an investigation into the alleged attempts to influence Mr. Hiranandani and whether Mr. Moitra was in contact with Mr. Hiranandani. Mr. Hiranandani has signed affidavits supporting the charges brought against Mr. Moitra by both Mr. Dubey and Mr. Dehadrai, and is an approver of the case.
Moitra said the gifts she received from the businessman, whom she calls a close personal friend, included a birthday present of a scarf, lipstick and Bobbi Brown make-up. She said she brought her makeup products from a duty-free shop in Dubai. She also said that she consulted him to change the interior of her house and he presented her with new architectural plans and drawings, but her costs were borne by the government-run CPWD.
“When I was allotted my personal bungalow, it was in a dilapidated state. I asked Darshan to ask one of his architects how the door could be redesigned to allow light in. I asked if there was one,” Moitra said, showing a photo of the blueprint. The rooms, layout and kitchen of her bungalow were sent to her by Hiranandani’s architect. She said the blueprints were submitted to the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) and claimed that the renovation of her bungalow was carried out by the government agency. She also said that she uses Mr. Hiranandani’s car whenever she is in Mumbai. Because he’s my friend.
“I urge Mr. Darshan Hiranandani to come immediately and record anything else he has given me. Anyone can make an accusation, but the burden of proving the allegation is always on the accused.” There is no mention of 2 billion rupees in cash being handed over.” “Tell me in your affidavit. If cash was handed over, tell me the date and submit all supporting documents.” Please,” she said.