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Lokpal asks CBI to probe money charges against petition against Mahua Moitra

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Lokpal asks CBI to probe money charges against petition against Mahua Moitra

New Delhi:

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

Ms Moitra was expelled from the Lok Sabha in December last year for “unethical conduct” and moved the Supreme Court to challenge her expulsion. She was re-nominated by the party as a candidate for the Krishnanagar Lok Sabha seat in West Bengal.

The Lokpal directive came as a complaint filed by BJP Lok Sabha member Nishikant Dubey alleged that Moitra had asked questions in the Lower House of Parliament in exchange for money and gifts from the businessman based in Dubai, Darshan Hiranandani.

“After careful assessment and review of all the documents placed on record, there remains no doubt that the allegations made against the RPS (respondent public servant), most of which are supported by compelling evidence, are “extremely serious in nature, especially in view of the position she occupies,” Lokpal’s order read.

He named Ms Moitra as the RPS in the order.

“Therefore, in our opinion, further investigation is required to establish the truth. This is vital in view of the position and status occupied by the RPS at the relevant time,” the Lokpal bench order comprising Justice Abhilasha. Kumari (judicial member) and members Archana Ramasundaram and Mahender Singh.

Regardless of the position held, a civil servant is required to demonstrate integrity in the exercise of his duties.

“The responsibility and burden weighs more heavily on the shoulders of a public official. Corruption is an evil that negatively affects the legislative, administrative, social and economic functioning of this democratic country,” the order said.

“It is our duty and, in fact, the mandate of the law (Lokpal), that all efforts be made to eradicate corruption and corrupt practices which involve aspects such as undue advantage, illegal gain or advantage and quid pro quo in the exercise of public functions,” he 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 six months from the date of receipt of this order,” the order states.

The CBI will also file periodic reports on the status of the investigation every month, he 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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