Darshan Hiranandani, the CEO of Hiranandani Group has turned approver in the scandal surrounding Trinamool MP Mahua Moitra, which involves allegations of her taking cash and gifts from the businessman to ask specific questions in the Parliament.
In the signed affidavit submitted by Hiranandani, the billionaire businessman accepted paying for most of the questions asked by Mahua Moitra in the Lok Sabha in the form of cash and gifts. He also acknowledged that the TMC MP provided him with her Parliamentary login credentials which he used to ask questions from the central government on her behalf.
In the explosive revelations, which will undoubtedly make things more difficult for the TMC MP, Darshan Hiranandani further revealed that the TMC MP was “over-ambitious” and in her desperation to shoot to fame, she took the advice of her few friends who told her that the only way to be recognized at a national level is to target PM Modi and since the PM had an impeccable reputation, the only tenable way to do that was to malign Gautam Adani.
“Mahua Moitra was very ambitious and wanted to quickly make a name for herself at the national level. She was advised by her friends and advisors that the shortest possible route to fame is by personally attacking Shri Narendra Modi, the honourable Prime Minister of India. The only problem was that Sh. Modi enjoyed an impeccable reputation and was not giving any opportunity to anyone to attack him in policy, governance or personal conduct. As was her wont, she thought that the only way to attack Sh. Modi is by attacking Gautam Adani and his group as both were contemporaries, and they belong to the same state of Gujarat. She was helped by the fact that the rise of Sh. Gautam Adani had created jealousy and detractors among some sections of businesses, politics and media, both within and outside the country. So she expected support from these sections in her endeavour to malign and embarrass the Prime Minister by targeting Adani,” the affidavit read.
“She requested me to keep supporting her in her attacks on the Adani group and provided me with her Parliament login and password so that I could post the questions directly on her behalf when required. I went along with her proposal… Certain information was shared with me, based on which I continued to draft and post questions using her Parliamentary login whenever needed,” Hiranandani said.
The businessman went on to also provide the names of some veteran journalists, opposition leaders, and foreign media outlets who had helped her in her endeavour to utilize Adani as a pawn in order to eventually tarnish the image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
According to the businessman turned approver’s affidavit, the anti-Modi brigade of journalists like Sucheta Dalal, Shardul Shroff and Pallavi Shroff; Congress’ Rahul Gandhi and Shashi Tharoor; and foreign media outlets like The NewYork Times and BBC fed her with ‘unverified information’ which she, in turn, shared with Hiranandani who used the Rajya Sabha MP’s Parliamentary login to ask questions from the central government.
“Ms Moitra, in her endeavour, was getting help from other people like Sucheta Dalal, Shardul Shroff and Pallavi Shroff, who were also in touch with her, and who were feeding her with all kinds of unverified information relating to Sh. Gautam Adani and his companies. Clearly, there were others who were also assisting her in this targeted attack. She had interactions with many Congress leaders, including Sh. Rahul Gandhi, on matters relating to Adani companies. She also had frequent interactions with international journalists from the Financial Times, the New York Times, the BBC and also with several Indian publications. She also received unverified details from several sources, including some claiming to be former Adani group employees. Certain information was shared with me, based on which I continued to draft and post questions using her Parliamentary login whenever needed,” the affidavit read.
For the unversed, Shardul Shroff and Pallavi Shroff are lawyers, Shardul Shroff is the Executive Chairman and Pallavi Shroff is the Managing Partner of the law firm Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co. Meanwhile, Sucheta Dala, a veteran journalist who received the coveted Padma Shri award from the Congress government in 2006, garnered media attention when she was accused with obstructing the investigation into the charges against Vinod Dua of The Wire during the MeToo campaign.
The businessman, meanwhile, added in his affidavit that Mahua Moitra bonded extremely well with leaders of the Opposition like Rahul Gandhi, Shashi Tharoor and Pinaki Mishra and he too thought he could use her clout to get support from opposition leaders, which is why he gave her expensive gifts and fulfilled all her exorbitant demands ranging from gifting her expensive luxury items, providing support on the renovation of her officially allotted bungalow in Delhi, travel expenses, holidays, etc, apart from providing secretarial and logistical help for her travels within India and to different parts of the world.
“Many a times I felt that she was taking undue advantage of me and pressurising me to do things I didn’t want to, but I had no choice, because of the aforementioned reasons,” he stated.
On 15th October, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Lok Sabha (MP) Nishikant Dubey levelled serious allegations against Trinamool MP Mahua Moitra, saying she took cash and gifts from businessman Darshan Hiranandani to ask specific questions in the Parliament. MP Dubey has submitted a formal complaint to the Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla seeking an inquiry against Moitra and urged the Speaker for her immediate suspension.