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Facts Of The Sordid Saga Of Cash For Query Scandal

By: Prof. Neelam Mahajan Singh

These four P’s are indeed dangerous, i.e. Politicians, Press, Power and Prostitutes! (General V. K. Singh coined them as “Presstitutes”)! “Politicians are strange bedfellows”! This quotation is adapted from a play, ‘The Tempest’; by William Shakespeare. On the other hand politicians say “we are people’s servants”! This is certain that all political parties raise funds for their survival and functioning. The nexus of politicians and business houses is well established. In Financial Year 2019-20, during the Lok Sabha elections, political parties received over ₹920 crore in the form of corporate donations, according to a report by the ‘Association for Democratic Reforms’.

The report analysed corporate donations to five national parties: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Indian National Congress (INC), All India Trinamool Congress (AITC), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), and Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM). ‘Prudent Electoral Trust’ was the top contributor to BJP and INC followed by ‘Jankalyan Electoral Trust and ITC Limited’. It is to be noted that donations through electoral bonds still constitute the lion’s share in the total income of BJP and Congress. Recently, Justice Dr. Dhananjay Yashwant Chandrachud, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India has issued notice on the electoral bond’s to the concerned parties. “Do the people of India have no right to know that from where the money is being generated?” he questions. This is in the background to the instant sleaze, explosion, hyper jingoistic headlines of every channel and newspaper, related to Mohua Moitra, a Member of Parliament of Mamta Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress and the #Cash For QueryScandal; so to say.

This has all the melodrama of a “soap opera’. Mohua Moitra is 50 years old but ‘a kid, like my daughter,” as stated by M.P. Dr. Shashi Tharoor, in response to the viral private pictures of Mohua and Shashi, enjoying champagne and partying! Wow! That’s great! A charming looking business baron, 41 years old Darshan Hiranandani, CEO of Hiranandani Group is an MBA from Rochester Institute of Technology, New York. He is credited with taking the Hiranandani Group’s real estate business globally and diversifying in sectors such as data-centers, cloud computing, energy, industrial warehousing and logistics. Then there’s Mohua Moitra’s ‘in relationship partner’ Jai Anant Dehadrai, a young lawyer, whom Mahua called her “boyfriend; a jilted Ex”! In return Dehadrai said, “Mohua is nothing but a playground bully. She thinks no one can stand up to her! I’ve dared to speak up”! Mohua Moitra divorced her Danish husband, Lars Wauvert Brorson. Then there is this ebullient and aggressive Dr. Nishikant Dubey, BJP M.P. from Godda, U.P. who created a hornet’s nest. Oh my God! What is the real issue? How the cat jumped out of the bag? Suddenly there are issues like, national security, breach of parliamentary ethics or even a conspiracy against thenation!

The fact is that advocate Jai Anant Dehadrai and Mohua Moitra’s relationship turned soured and became toxic. Then there is this lovely Rottweiler dog ‘Henry’; who was the ‘love’ of both the estranged partners. Being a dog lover myself, I can understand the attachment to ‘Henry’ by Moitra-Dehadrai duo. He was also envious of Mohua’s ‘extremely close personal friend’ Darshan Hiranandani, who was doting on Mohua Moitra, by showering with gifts of accessories (of my favourite brands too), Gucci, Hermès, Louise Vuitton, Salvatore Ferragamo, Christian Dior, Bobbi Brown and what have you! Hey Darshan Hiranandani, you should have gifted the instant author with some of these gifts too! Seriously? It’s pretty okay for two persons to be friends or be attracted to each other. Isn’t it? The moot question then arises; that can a member of parliament, an educated, professional banker, a vociferous speaker, be so naieve or dumb, that she would give her ‘parliament’s website log-in and password to Darshan Hiranandani? The ‘jilted lover – Dehadrai’ met Nishikant Dubey, with whom Mohua has old enmity, as she’s been attacking Nishikant on his alleged ‘fake degrees’! That’s the real catch. It’s not that a scandal was broken by Nishikant Dubey! Infact all the secrets of Mohua Moitra were given to Dubey by Dehadrai ! If Mohua Moitra has indeed shared her password of Parliament’s website with Darshan Hiranandani, for asking questions against Gautam Adani Group and therefore attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi, then it’s indeed a serious matter and impropriety. Nishikant has made a formal complaint to the Lok Sabha Speaker, Om Birla against Mohua Moitra. The Lok Sabha Speaker referred the complaint against a sitting member of parliament to the House’s ‘Ethics Committee’. The genesis of the Ethics Committee can be traced to a resolution adopted at the ‘Presiding Officers Conference’ held in New Delhi in October, 1996. Each house of the parliament has its own ethics committee. It was constituted in 2000, with not more than fifteen members, nominated by the Speaker.

The Ethics committee in Rajya Sabha was constituted in 1997. This committee oversee the moral and ethical conduct of the members. Trinamool Congress has issued an official statement on the ‘cash-for-query’ allegations, saying that appropriate action will be taken after the investigation report is submitted. It is alleged that Mahua Moitra received ‘expensive gifts’ and money to ask questions against Gautam Adani Group in Lok Sabha. The TMC leader’s former ‘personal friend’ Jai Anant Dehadrai filed a separate complaint with the Central Bureau of Investigation against ‘his ex’ Mohua Moitra. Both Nishikant Dubey and Dehadrai appeared before the Ethics Committee on 26th October and recorded their statements. In response, Mahua Moitra has filed a defamation suit against both of them before Delhi High Court. Ethics Committee Chairman, Vinod Sonkar, has assured that the Committee will reach a conclusion after examining everything related to the ‘Cash for Query’ scandal. He said that Nishikant Dubey has been asked to present the evidence. TMC’s Rajya Sabha MP, Derek O’Brien said, “The member concerned has been advised by the party leadership to clarify her position regarding the allegations levelled against her. She has already done that”. Dubey stated that it was Darshan Hiranandani, son of billionaire businessman Niranjan Hiranandani, who used to bribe Mohua Moitra in exchange for, her raising the specific questions related to Gautam Adani Group in Parliament.

Nishikant Dubey has urged Lok Sabha Speaker, Om Birla to immediately suspend, Mohua Moitra from Lok Sabha. “Bribes were exchanged between Mohua Moitra and businessman Darshan Hiranandani to ask questions in Parliament in exchange for cash and gifts,” wrote Dubey. The Twitter attacks are rocking! Darshan Hiranandani has acknowledged that, “I used the TMC MP, Mohua Moitra’s login credentials to pose questions against the Adani Group”. Darshan Hiranandani then claimed that Moitra demanded favours and gifts from him. He ‘suo-motto’ sent an affidavit, notarised on stamp paper, to Om Birla. On several T.V. channels he’s parroting the same text! Darshan Hiranandani is equally guilty of misconduct, if he indeed was directly posting questions through Moitra’s login password. These are high stake corporate-wars. All political parties use MPs to raise questions in parliament. An embarrassing case of ‘Kent-RO’ purifier was asked by Hema Malini, of which she was a model! She apologized, but was reprimanded by the Lok Sabha Speaker. Darshan Hiranandani is trying to save his own skin, as he is caught in his own cobweb of impropriety. The people of India should realize, that there are several skeletons in the cupboards of their representatives. It’s a shameful chapter and the serial is entertaining as it has a love-story, a broken-heart, a businessman’s attraction towards a politician, who surrendered her login password. BJP grabbed the opportunity to attack. ‘I.N.D.I.A’.; the crumbling opposition alliance.

Mamta Banerjee’s simple, earthy lifestyle and slogan of ‘Maa-Mati-Manush’ has got a jolt from ‘Cash for Query’ scandal. In all fairness, as Member of Parliament Mohua Moitra has to be given a fair opportunity to give her version of these serious allegations. Evidence on record will play crucial part. This is a sordid saga indeed. Let the truth prevail.

Prof. Neelam Mahajan Singh

(Sr. Journalist, Author, Doordarshan Personality, Solicitor for Human Rights Protection and Philanthropist)



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