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Mahua Moitra should get chance to speak in her defence: Shashi Tharoor

New Delhi: Lok Sabha member and senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, speaking about his fellow parliamentarian Mahua Moitra's alleged cash-for-query case which the Ethics Committee is looking into, on Monday, said the TMC member should be given a chance to speak in her defence. He also suggested holding a debate, where others can also pitch in with their thoughts.

"We are looking at a situation where if they are going to bring this motion to endorse the recommendation of the Ethics Committee to expel a member, they have to give the member a chance to speak in her defence, and they have to permit a discussion where others can raise serious issues," Tharoor told ANI outside Parliament.

The Ethics Committee, which probed the 'cash-for-query' allegations against Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, was reportedly scheduled to lay its report in Lok Sabha on the first day of the Winter Session of Parliament on December 4.
According to several media reports, the committee in its report has recommended the expulsion of Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra in the "cash-for-query" case.
Notably, Nishikant Dubey had written to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla against Moitra, accusing her of asking questions in Lok Sabha to target the Adani Group at the behest of businessman Darshan Hiranandani in exchange for gifts.

"That the item of filing the Ethics Committee report was skipped (on Monday) when they laid papers on the table... I hope that is a good sign that the government is rethinking this rather extreme step," Tharoor told ANI.
"Their decision today to not put it on the table of the House is a good start. Let's hope they follow that through."
"But having said that, we have a number of very fundamental questions in our mind about this. First of all, there is a peculiar business of the overlapping mandates of the Privileges Committee and the Ethics Committee."

Tharoor also questioned how the ethics committee report was made, alleging that it was prepared in a one-sided manner.
"The last time MPs were expelled, it was a Privileges Committee. Now, the Ethics Committee is also getting into this. On what basis? Secondly, in any procedure involving something as serious as expulsion, there has to be an opportunity for cross-examination of witnesses for all sides to be heard. That has not, as far as we are aware, happened. The report has been done in a very one-sided manner," Tharoor asserted.
Terming it to be a matter of great concern for the whole Opposition, he said, "I think we have a real trouble with the way in which the parliamentary system is functioning."

Meanwhile, Mahua Moitra on Monday denied commenting on the Ethics Committee report saying that she will only speak when the report is tabled in the Parliament.
The TMC MP said, "What can I say when it was not even tabled (before the Parliament)? Had they tabled it, I would have said something. I will speak when they table it..."

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