Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Ethics Panel Chairman Confirms Receipt of Affidavit from Darshan Hiranandani in ‘Cash for Query’ Scandal

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On Friday, Vinod Sonkar, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Ethics Committee, made an announcement that he had received an affidavit from businessman Darshan Hiranandani concerning the ‘Cash for Query’ scandal. This document implicates TMC MP Mahua Moitra in the controversy. Sonkar stated, “I have received a letter/affidavit from Darshan Hiranandani.”

In a three-page sworn statement provided to the Ethics panel, Darshan Hiranandani admitted to his friendship with TMC MP Mahua Moitra. He alleged that the Lok Sabha Member viewed attacking the Adani group as a path to gaining fame.

Hiranandani’s affidavit read, “She became a Lok Sabha MP in May 2019. Her friends advised her that the quickest way to gain fame was by criticizing Narendra Modi. She believed that the only way to target PM Modi was by going after Gautam Adani and his group, both of whom hail from Gujarat.” Hiranandani also claimed that Mahua Moitra shared her Parliament Login credentials with him. He mentioned that she knew about the Indian Oil Corporation’s dealings with Dhamra LNG, a joint venture of the Adani group, and drafted questions for Parliament that would embarrass the government and target the Adani group.

The affidavit further stated that she shared her email ID as an MP so that he could send her information, allowing her to raise these questions. Hiranandani admitted to cooperating with her proposal and alleged that the TMC MP also requested favors and gifts from him.

Nevertheless, Mahua Moitra denied the claims made in the affidavit, asserting that it appears to have been prepared under pressure from the BJP. She questioned the credibility of Darshan Hiranandani’s affidavit, stating, “The affidavit is on plain white paper, not official letterhead, and is not notarized. Why would one of India’s most respected and educated businessmen sign such a letter on plain paper unless he was coerced into doing so?”

She alleged that Hiranandani was compelled to sign the letter, claiming that the PMO had exerted pressure on him and his father by threatening to shut down their businesses, conduct CBI raids, and halt all government transactions and PSU bank financing immediately.

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