New Delhi | Days after submitting a sworn affidavit on his claims to Parliament's ethics committee, the businessman at the centre of the alleged 'Cash for Query' scandal, Darshan Hiranandani, says he regrets the personal error of judgment of using TMC MP Mahua Moitra's parliament login credentials.
In an interview to Television News Channel Times Now, Hiranandani says that the very fact that he got entangled in the matter was an error of judgement.
"I think that me being entangled in this whole matter is an error of my judgment. And like I said, I've been very clear and explicit in my affidavit about what happened. And, you know, I've got nothing more to add as far as that's concerned" Hiranandani says in his interview.
"The reality is that after the complaint of Advocate Dehadrai brought the matter into, like full limelight. It then snowballed into a political controversy with the Parliamentary committee on ethics, formally taking up the matter. Since it involved me by name directly and personally, it was incumbent upon me as a responsible citizen to bring the facts as they are before the public. Our groups are law abiding business with a focus to build a nation. And frankly, I regret that my personal error of judgment has embarrassed my family directly and my employees and my company indirectly. But reality is I felt that instead of a long process of investigation and denials, I must come forward with the facts upfront and cooperate fully as is my nature" Hiranandani adds.
Hiranandani who is based in Dubai said he was under no pressure to sign the affidavit. Earlier the TMC MP Mahua Moitra had questioned his affidavit alleging that it was signed on white paper as "a gun was put to his head."
"The affidavit is signed by me, signed by me voluntarily, no fear, no favour. Testimony of that is that I had it notarized at the Indian consulate in Dubai.... Since I am in Dubai, I had it notarized in the Indian Consulate in Dubai. Then I sent it to the Privilege Committee of Lok Sabha and copied to CBI and Dr. Nishikant Dubey by email" Hiranandani says in his interview to Times Now.
When asked if he thought that TMC MP Mahua Moitra was looking to target businessman Gautam Adani and through that the Prime Minister, Hiranandani reiterated what was said in his affidavit.
"I think, I would prefer to stick to my affidavit in this regard, but I can tell you that she felt that attacking Mr. Adani would target the Prime Minister because there was perceived proximity as both are from the same state" he said.
Hiranandani however admits that he did use TMC MP Mahua Moitra's Parliament login credentials and that it was an error of judgment.
"Certainly, that part is an error of judgment" Hiranandani told Times Now.
The Dubai-based businessman however chose to sidestep a question on the gifts he allegedly gave the TMP MP as has been claimed by Advocate Jai Anant Dehadrai in his submissions.
"I would prefer to stick to my affidavit and when called upon, by either the Parliament Ethics Committee or any sort of authority, I will gladly cooperate and provide each and every detail that's required" Darshan Hiranandani said.
The TMC MP Mahua Moitra has yet to respond to this interview broadcast by Times Now. However, in an earlier post on X she called for login access details of all MPs to be made public.
"Request NIC to please release ALL details of MPs publicly to show they were physically present in place from where IDs were accessed by their PAs & researchers/interns/staff. Don't use Fake Degree wala for leak, make this public NOW" said Mahua Moitra in her post on X on October 21.
The whole controversy started when BJP MP Nishikant Dubey wrote to the speaker alleging 'Cash for Query' proof against the TMC MP. He had claimed the said proof was provided by Advocate Jai Anant Dehadrai.
The Parliament Ethics committee has called both Dubey and Advocate Dehadrai to submit oral evidence of allegations before it on October 26.
The TMC has maintained a studied silence on the controversy, party spokesperson Kunal Ghosh when questioned on the issue said "No comments...regarding this issue the TMC will not say anything...The related person may answer this."