Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra on Tuesday demanded that the Lok Sabha Ethics Committee allow her to cross-question Supreme Court advocate Jai Anant Dehadrai and businessman Darshan Hiranandani.

Moitra is being questioned by the Ethics Committee in connection with complaints by Bharatiya Janata Party MP Nishikant Dubey and Dehadrai alleging that she took bribes from Hiranandani to ask questions in Parliament.

The Hiranandani Group initially dismissed Dubey’s allegations against Moitra as having “no merit”. However, Hiranandani, the chief executive officer of the real estate company, submitted an affidavit to the ethics committee on October 19, accusing Moitra of spreading unverified information about industrialist Gautam Adani.

The panel had summoned Moitra to depose before it on Tuesday in connection with the alleged cash-for-query case. Although Moitra sought more time to appear saying she has commitments till Saturday, the committee has not responded to her request.

In her letter, Moitra said that neither Dehadrai nor Hiranandani have any documentary proof to back the allegations of bribery. She said that the panel’s inquiry without giving her the chance to cross-question them would be “incomplete and unfair”.

“I wish to place on record that I am requesting the committee to answer in writing and place on record their decision to allow or disallow such cross-examination,” she said.

Moitra said that the panel has not granted her request to appear after Tuesday and that she will appear on Thursday.

The legislator, however, pointed out that the panel’s decision to not grant her extension, contrasts the case of BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri, who is also being investigated by the Ethics Committee on a complaint of hate speech.

During a debate in Parliament on the success of India’s Chandrayaan-3 lunar mission on September 21, Bidhuri called Bahujan Samaj Party MP Kunwar Danish Ali a “mullah terrorist”, “pimp” and “katwa”, a slur used for circumcised Muslims.

Moitra noted that while the panel had summoned him to provide oral evidence on October 10, Bidhuri did not attend, saying that he was campaigning for elections in Rajasthan.

“No further date of his hearing has been given so far,” Moitra said. “I wish to place on record that these double standards reek of political motives and do little to enhance the credibility of the Privileges and Ethics branch.”

Further, the lawmaker questioned whether the Ethics Committee was the appropriate forum to examine allegations of criminality.

“I wish to respectfully remind you that Parliamentary Committees do not have criminal jurisdiction and have no mandate to investigate alleged criminality,” she said. “This can only be done by law enforcement agencies.”

Moitra said the nation’s founders had give this power only to the law enforcement agencies to “prevent even the slightest misuse of Committees by governments enjoying a brute majority in Parliament”.

She also said that the committee has not formulated any Code of Conduct for MPs even though the scope and function of the panel says it needs to form one and make amendments from time to time.

“I wish to most respectfully point out that in view of the lack of a structured Code of Conduct, it is all the more important that each case be dealt with in an objective and fair manner and there remains no room for political partisanship,” Moitra added.

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