Trinamool Congress leader Mahua Moitra was guilty of “unethical conduct” and contempt of the Lok Sabha as she shared her login user ID and password of the Parliament website with “unauthorised persons”, disturbing national security, said the ethics panel in its report that recommended expelling her from the House, reported The Indian Express.
Moitra was expelled from the Lok Sabha on Friday after Bharatiya Janata Party MP Nishikant Dubey and advocate Jai Anant Dehadrai, reportedly her estranged partner, accused the Trinamool Congress MP of taking bribes from businessman Darshan Hiranandani to ask questions in Parliament.
The ethics panel had adopted its report recommending Moitra’s expulsion from the Lok Sabha at a meeting on November 9. The committee had called Moitra’s actions “highly objectionable, unethical, heinous and criminal”.
Six panel members, including Congress MP Preneet Kaur, supported the report while four Opposition leaders submitted their dissent notes against it.
In its 104-page report, the ethics panel stated that Moitra said she had not logged in from Dubai between January 1, 2019, and September 30, 2023, during her visits to allegedly meet Hiranandani. But, the report said, this showed that someone else had been logging in on her behalf from Dubai, having 47 logins from the same IP address.
Noting the Union home ministry’s submission that several non-public documents could be accessed through the login IDs of MPs, the panel said that sharing passwords could lead to drafts “falling into the hands of elements inimical to the country”, reported The Indian Express.
It said compromised passwords could lead to cyber attacks, crippling the functioning of Parliament. It also said that hackers “could plant material into the system that could impact national security by creating false documents or fake narratives”.
The committee concluded that of the 61 questions posed by Moitra on the portal, 50 were with the intent of “protecting or perpetuating business interests” of Hiranandani.
Recalling that Moitra had stormed off during the November 2 meeting when she was questioned by the committee after accusing its chairperson Vinod Sonkar of asking personal and unethical questions, the report said the politician tried to “digress” to her “personal relationship” with Dehadrai when questioned.
Citing the November 2 incident, the panel has requested the Lok Sabha Speaker to frame a new set of rules to contain unruly behaviour of MPs, according to the newspaper.
The panel also accused Bahujan Samaj Party MP Kunwar Danish Ali of “cunningly twisting” the intent of questions posed to Moitra by Sonkar and recommended that the legislator be admonished for “conduct unbecoming of an MP”.
The report showed that in her defence, Moitra said the questions posted online on the Parliament website were her own but we just put there by Hiranandani’s staff. The panel however dismissed the assertation citing conflict of business interests between Adani and Hiranandani.
Moitra also told the panel that she had only shared the password for her member’s portal – and not that of her official mail ID – to Hiranandani’s staff, claiming her personal assistants were Bengali speakers and not good in English. She added that Hiranandani’s staff could only post questions when she gave them a one-time password, or an OTP, that received on her phone.
Moitra added she took some gifts and travel facilities from Hiranandani, saying that he was a “friend”, but asserted that there was no cash transaction involved.