POLITICS

TMC MP Mahua Moitra targeted Adani to embarrass PM Modi: Darshan Hiranandani

India

Hiranandani admitted at using Moitra’s Parliamentary login to ask questions targeting Adani after state-owned behemoth Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) booked capacity at the Gujarat-based conglomerate’s Dhamra LNG import facility in Odisha and not at his firm’s planned facility.

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Darshan Hiranandani, the CEO of real estate-to-energy group Hiranandani, who allegedly paid TMC MP Mahua Moitra to raise questions in Parliament about Adani Group, on Thursday said the TMC leader targeted Gautam Adani to “malign and embarrass” Prime Minister Narendra Modi whose impeccable reputation gave opposition no opportunity to attack him.

In a signed affidavit, a copy of which was reviewed by PTI, Hiranandani admitted at using Moitra’s Parliamentary login to ask questions targeting Adani after state-owned behemoth Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) booked capacity at the Gujarat-based conglomerate’s Dhamra LNG import facility in Odisha and not at his firm’s planned facility.

Moitra, he claimed, “made frequent demands” including “expensive luxury items, providing support on 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.”

Earlier this week, BJP MP Nishikant Dubey and Moitra’s estranged partner and lawyer Jai Anant Dehadrai alleged the Moitra took favours from Hiranandani to raise questions in Parliament. She responded by filing a defamation suit before the Delhi High Court against them. Meanwhile, Dubey’s complaint has been referred by the Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to Parliament’s Ethics Committee.

Hiranandani, who had this week reposted news about Adani group starting port operations in Kerala on X, couldn’t be reached for comments. Once the affidavit became public, he deleted his account on X. Moitra could not be immediately reached for comments.

Having met Moitra at Bengal Global Business Summit in 2017 when she was a MLA, Hiranandani said she became a “close personal friend” over the years whom he had expected to use for getting business in states ruled by opposition parties.

“Moitra was very ambitious and wanted to make a name for herself at the national level,” he said of her winning the Lok Sabha election from Krishnanagar in West Bengal in 2019. “She was advised by her friends and advisors that the shortest possible route to fame is by personally attacking Modi.”

However, the prime minister enjoyed “an impeccable reputation and was not giving any opportunity to anyone to attack him in policy, governance or personal conduct,” he said. “As was her wont, she thought that the only way to attack 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 Adani had caused jealousy and had detractors among some sections of business, politics and media. “So, she expected support from these sections in her endeavour to malign and embarrass the Prime Minister by targeting Adani,” he said.

Hiranandani said she knew about IOC choosing Dhamra over his company’s LNG terminal. “Based on this information, Moitra drafted a few questions that would have elements to embarrass the government by targeting the Adani group; questions that she could raise in Parliament.”

“She shared with me her email ID as Member of Parliament, so that I could send her information, and she could raise the questions in the Parliament. I went along with her proposal,” he claimed. Delighted at the response she received for the first set of questions he had sent to her relating to the Adani group, he said Moitra “requested” him to keep supporting her in her attacks on the Adani group. She “provided me with her Parliament login and password so that I could post the questions directly on her behalf when required.”

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