Mahua Moitra: The firebrand Indian MP in ‘cash-for-query’ scandal

An Indian MP who is known to be a fierce critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is embroiled in a controversy over alleged misconduct in parliamen, BBC reported.

Nishikant Dubey, a BJP lawmaker, has accused Mahua Moitra – an MP from the opposition Trinamool Congress party (TMC) – of asking questions in parliament in exchange for bribes.

Mr Dubey has alleged that Ms Moitra asked several questions targeting the Adani Group – a business conglomerate owned by one of Asia’s richest men, Gautam Adani – in exchange for gifts and cash from a businessman.

Ms Moitra has denied the allegations, and has said that she is ready to face any kind of inquiry. A parliamentary ethics committee started hearing the case on Thursday.

According to political experts, the committee cannot punish Ms Moitra even if it rules against her as it does not have executive powers. Its recommendation will have to go before the house, which can decide to accept or reject it. In the instance Ms Moitra is expelled from parliament, she can challenge the decision in court, according to BBC.

The financial dealings of the Adani Group came under scrutiny in January, after Hindenburg Research – a US firm that specialises in “short-selling”- published a report accusing the conglomerate of engaging in decades of “brazen” stock manipulation and accounting fraud. The Adani Group has denied these allegations, calling the report “malicious”.

Since then, Ms Moitra and several opposition lawmakers have called on the government to investigate the allegations against the Adani Group. India’s market watchdog, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), is currently investigating the allegations against the firm.

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