"Gave Darshan Hiranandani My Parliament Login Credentials": Mahua Moitra
Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra on Friday said that the only things she had received from Darshan Hiranandani, the CEO of the Hiranandani Group, as gifts were "one scarf, some lipsticks, and other makeup items including eye shadow" but she admitted to letting him use her Lok Sabha login credentials to post questions that she claimed were hers. She denied allegations of taking bribes from Hiranandani and demanded that she be given the chance to cross-examine him, in an interview to India Today.
Her remarks come amid allegations that she received gifts from Hiranandani in exchange for asking questions in Parliament. The Ethics committee of the parliament has summoned her to present her defence on October 31 but Moitra has requested more time due to "pre-committed programmes" in her constituency Krishnanagar. Most members of the Ethics committee have said the charges against Moitra are serious in nature and amount to a breach of parliamentary privilege. BJP MP Nishikant Dubey and Delhi-based lawyer Jai Anant Dehadrai have already recorded their statements and presented evidence against the Trinamool MP.
Moitra on Friday also lashed out against Dehadrai, citing that he did not deserve the national importance he was getting. She also said his complaint against her was motivated by the acrimonious custody battle that both were fighting over their pet dog Henry.
Moitra defended sharing login credentials with Hiranandani saying she has done that with others too "as she worked from a remote constituency." "But there is always an OTP and the team would always post my questions," she said, claiming that the NIC that operates government and parliamentary websites had no rules against this.
This was countered by Dubey in a tweet in which he posted the rules specified by the NIC and a form that every parliamentarian was obligated to fill out. These include instructions to keep the credentials private and confidential and inform the NIC of any alternate user as any breach could have security implications.
Dubey also demanded a probe into the attempts that he claimed were being made to influence Hiranandani and if Moitra was in touch with him. Hiranandani is an approver in this case with his signed affidavit corroborating the charges raised against Moitra by both Dubey and Dehadrai.
Moitra said the things she had received from the businessman, who she called a close personal friend, were a scarf for her birthday present, lipsticks, and makeup items from Bobbi Brown. She said that the makeup products were brought for her from Dubai's duty-free store. She also said she had consulted him for changing the interiors of her house, and he had presented her with new architectural plans and drawings, but the expenses were undertaken by the CPWD which comes under the government.
"I would urge Darshan Hiranandani to come immediately and put on record if he has given anything else to me. Anyone can make an allegation, but the onus is always on the complainant to prove those allegations. There's no mention of ₹ 2 crore cash given to me in the affidavit. If cash is being given, please tell the date and provide all the documentary evidence," she said.