Lokpal Asks CBI To Probe Cash-For-Query Allegation Against Trinamool’s Mahua Moitra

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New Delhi:

Anti-corruption ombudsman Lokpal on Tuesday directed the CBI to investigate the cash-for-query allegations against Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Mahua Moitra and submit findings before it within six months, according to an order.

Ms Moitra was expelled from the Lok Sabha in December last year for “unethical conduct” and has moved the Supreme Court challenging her expulsion. She has been renominated by the party as its candidate from the Krishnanagar Lok Sabha seat in West Bengal.

The Lokpal directive came while deciding a complaint by BJP Lok Sabha member Nishikant Dubey alleging that Moitra had asked questions in the Lower House of Parliament in exchange for cash and gifts from Dubai-based businessman Darshan Hiranandani.

“After careful evaluation and consideration of the entire material on record, there remains no doubt regarding the fact that the allegations levelled against the RPS (Respondent Public Servant), most of which are supported by cogent evidence, are extremely serious in nature, especially in view of the position held by her,” reads the Lokpal order.

It has referred to Ms Moitra as the RPS in the order.

“Therefore, in our considered opinion, a deeper probe is required to establish the truth. This is vital in view of the position and status held by the RPS at the relevant point of time,” said the order of the Lokpal bench comprising Justice Abhilasha Kumari (judicial member) and Members Archana Ramasundaram and Mahender Singh.

It said whatever be the position held, a public servant is bound to exercise probity in the discharge of his or her duties.

“The responsibility and burden are heavier on the shoulders of a public representative. Corruption is a malaise that is adversely affecting the legislative, administrative, social and economic functioning of this democratic country,” the order said.

“It is a duty cast upon us and, indeed, the mandate of the (Lokpal) Act, that all attempts be made to root out corruption and corrupt practises that bring under their fold aspects such as undue advantage, illegal gain or benefit and quid pro quo in the discharge of public duties,” it said.

Accordingly, “we direct the CBI…to investigate all aspects of the allegations made in the complaint, and submit a copy of the investigation report within a period of six months from the date of receipt of this order”, the order said.

The CBI shall also file periodical reports regarding the status of the investigation, every month, it added.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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