This man topi-pehnau-ed this wonderful nation: Mahua Moitra on Adani in LS


New Delhi: TMC MP Mahua Moitra on Tuesday launched a stinging attack on the government over the Adani-Hindenburg issue and said the billionaire businessman had ‘topi-pehnau-ed (duped)’ the country.

While participating in the debate on the ‘Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address’ in Lok Sabha, Moitra, without naming Adani, said that a famous person whose name starts with ‘A’ and ends with ‘I’ and is not Advani, who stinks of crony capitalism, had duped everyone.

Soon after she concluded her speech, there were angry exchanges between Trinamool Congress (TMC) and BJP members. Moitra was heard using certain objectionable words to which the Chair objected and urged members to avoid cuss words.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi asked Moitra to apologise out of morality and said if she does not it would reflect on her culture.

Moitra brought two birthday caps in the House to press her argument that the businessman being most talked about had “topi-pehnau-ed” the government.

She demanded that an enquiry be ordered against the activities of the Adani group.

Beginning her address by quoting from President Droupadi Murmu’s address, Moitra said, “Every word I utter is going to be an oblation and offering a truth into my ‘maha yagna’ of nation building.”

“I want to start off by saying as an ex-investment banker, I want companies to thrive. But I want honest, hardworking Indian companies to strive and not trapeze artists. As an MP colleague of mine likes to say the Chair always asked me not to get angry. I will not be angry for what I have to say. I will only say that we’ve all been fooled,” she said.

Moitra also alleged that the businessman gives the impression that doing things for him means that one would be in the prime minister and home minister’s good books.

Referring to a statement by the Adani group in which it had said that short-seller Hindenburg’s report was a calculated attack on India, she said, “The pride of India is not the wealth of one individual, pride of India lies in the robustness of its institutional structures.”

She said a company which is in infrastructure makes five to 15 per cent returns if they are lucky and if they get everything right, but the multiple with which this company ‘A’ was trading was absolutely outrageous.

Even Google, Amazon and Microsoft don’t trade on such multiples, she said.

“Honourable home minister, he has topi-pehnau-ed you…he is getting security clearances from the ministry of home affairs…Madam, finance minister he has topi-pehnau-ed you,” the TMC leader said.

“This man has been allowed to use LIC, SBI to get money as and when he likes. Honourable civil aviation, he has ‘topi-pehnau-ed’, you shipping minister, he has topi-pehna-ed you petroleum minister, he has ‘topi-pehnau-ed’ oil PSUs…power minister he has topi-pehnau-ed you,” she said.

“India is on its way to becoming the third largest economy in the world. Don’t let him smear your time in government, with a stink of crony capitalism. Please immediately order a full complete and thorough investigation into all matters…Our country’s reputation is at risk,” Moitra said.

She also said the House too has historically seen some of the greatest debates, some friendly, some not so friendly sparring matches.

“But it is more and less a sacred place where elected representatives could speak their minds without fear of favour…Today and I say this with a heavy heart, Lok Sabha is a space which stands out more for what cannot be said in this hall, then what can we say. The list of unmentionables is actually far longer than the list of mentionables,” she claimed.

“We cannot say China, we cannot say Pegasus, we can not say BBC, we cannot say Morbi, we cannot say Rafael, and sometimes we cannot even say Modi ji…,” she said.

The opposition has been demanding a joint parliamentary committee probe or a Supreme Court-monitored investigation into the allegations of fraud and manipulation made by the US-based short seller Hindenburg Research against billionaire Gautam Adani’s companies that triggered an unprecedented stock crash. The group has denied the charges.

The opposition parties have alleged that the meltdown in Adani Group shares is a ‘mega scam’ that involves common people’s money as public sector LIC and SBI have invested in them and have questioned the government on steps taken by it.

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( With inputs from )

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