The angle of alleged quid pro quo in interactions between Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra and Dubai-based businessman Darshan Hiranandani is likely to be the focus of Central Bureau of Investigation’s probe against the parliamentarian who is staring at a possible expulsion from Lok Sabha for her “unethical” practice of sharing her login credentials with unauthorised persons.
CBI sources said the formal investigation, which may also involve analysis of the MP’s call detail records, may kick off in the next few days after the formal go-ahead is processed. The likely questioning of Moitra by the central agency would come close the Lok Sabha ethics committee’s conclusion in a 500-page report that has upheld the allegations that she asked questions in Lok Sabha to target the Adani Group to appease Hiranandani who extended favours—like free travel and stay in Dubai and costly gifts—to her in exchange.
“Lokpal has today, on the basis of my complaint, ordered a CBI inquiry against accused Mahua Moitra for allegedly indulging in corruption that compromised national security,” BJP MP Nishikant Dubey said on social media platform X.
The combative Trinamool, in turn, took a swipe saying she was very happy to know that Lokpal exists. She also asked the CBI to first probe the alleged irregularities committed by the Adani group. Earlier, the Trinamool MP had walked out of the ethics panel’s proceedings, accusing it of asking “filthy questions”.
While denying accepting bribes, the MP had earlier admitted that the login credentials were shared by her with Hiranandani. Moitra also dismissed allegations of working against national interest. The gifts she has admitted receiving from the business tycoon include “one scarf, some lipsticks, and other makeup items including eye shadow”.
The CBI probe against the MP may be in addition to the “intense, legal, institutional inquiry” in the matter that the ethics committee has recommended against Moitra in its report given to Lok Sabha Speaker.
The alleged cash-for-query case emerged on 15 October, after Dubey wrote to Speaker Om Birla seeking an inquiry against Moitra, who was accused by advocate Jai Anant Dehadrai of accepting bribes from Hiranandani to raise questions targeting the Adani group. Dubey based his complaint on Dehadrai’s ground work which indicated that between 2019 and 2023 Moitra asked 50-odd questions on the Adani group in Parliament. The complaint alleged the MP sought information with the intent of perpetuating business interests of Hiranandani.
The controversy took a big twist with Hiranandani issuing a self-attested affidavit last month,confirming the “wrongdoing” and revealing that Moitra was in touch with Rahul Gandhi on the issue of questions related to the Adani Group. The Dubai-based real estate tycoon’s statement, which circulated on social media before he confirmed it to some mediapersons, said that the Congress leader was apparently in touch with Moitra on issues related to companies owned by Adani—a businessman Gandhi has hit out several times for allegedly getting preferential treatment from the Narendra Modi government.
Forty two-year-old Hiranandani, CEO of real estate-to-energy group, said in his statement, “Clearly, there were others who were also assisting her (Moitra) in this targeted attack. She had interactions with many Congress leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, on matters relating to Adani companies.”