ED files a money laundering case against TMC leader Mahua Moitra

The central agency's action comes days after Moitra skipped the summons issued by the ED that asked her to appear for questioning.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday, April 2, registered a money laundering case against Trinamool Congress leader and expelled MP Mahua Moitra in the cash-for-query probe.

According to sources, the financial probe agency took cognisance of the CBI FIR already registered in the matter under different sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Earlier, the ED had filed a case under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) against Moitra.

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The central agency’s action comes days after Moitra skipped the summons issued by the ED that asked her to appear for questioning.

Moitra along with businessman Darshan Hiranandani had been served summons by the ED for questioning in a Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) contravention case.

Moitra was re-nominated by the TMC from the same Krishnanagar seat after being expelled last year, on Tuesday accused the ED and the CBI of acting as “political agents of the saffron camp”.

To a question, the 49-year-old politician said, “My victory would be a fitting response to the ploy to expel me and harass me” through ED and CBI raids.

Moitra, known for her outspokenness and fiery debates in the Lok Sabha, was expelled from the Lower House in December last year after a parliamentary Ethics Committee’s report held her accountable for accepting gifts and illegal gratification.

The former investment banker with JP Morgan Chase, who had dubbed the expulsion recommendation by the Ethics committee as a “prefixed match by a kangaroo court”, claimed the BJP has been trying to destroy democracy in the country.

Speaking about the CBI raids at her premises and summons by the Enforcement Directorate, which she has skipped, Moitra alleged those agencies are an integral part of the BJP.

The CBI conducted a raid on her property regarding the cash-for-query case, prompted by the anti-corruption ombudsman Lokpal’s directive following allegations from BJP MP Nishikant Dubey, which she rejected.

Additionally, the Enforcement Directorate has issued fresh summons to her and businessman Darshan Hiranandani for questioning in a case involving contravention of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).

Moitra recently complained to the EC, alleging that the BJP was employing the CBI and the ED to disrupt her campaign and tarnish her image before the elections, although she expressed scepticism about the poll panel taking any action on the matter.

“The EC itself now has lost its independence. The commissioners are handpicked by the two-thirds majority of the prime minister and the home minister. Within 30 minutes, 200 names were given to choose (two Election Commissioners after the resignation of Arun Goel last month). The entire exercise is a farce,” she said.

The former MLA from Karimpur seat in the West Bengal Assembly said opposition leaders and political parties still write to the EC, as “we need to write and record it for history, and that is also important”.

(With excerpts from agencies)

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