Ruling out any probe into business dealings between Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra and realty major DLF, finance minister P Chidambaram on Monday said the government cannot look into private transactions unless there are specific allegations of corruption.
"...unless there is a specific allegation of quid pro quo or corruption, I am afraid private transactions cannot and ought not to be allowed to be questioned on the basis of imputations and insinuations", he said while responding to a question on the Vadra-DLF deals at the Economic Editors' Conference in New Delhi.
Chidambaram said he "could not respond (on the issue) on behalf of the government because that is not the issue here. I think those who made their allegations have made their statement, the company concerned has made a statement and the individual concerned has made a statement".
On the other hand, IAC activist Arvind Kejriwal on Monday slammed Vadra for his 'Mango people' remark on his Facebook page. "Evidence pouring in from mango men from across the country. Mango men wud (sic) prove to be nemesis for the "powerful," tweeted Kejriwal.
Vadra allegedly wrote on Facebook "mango people in a banana republic" but later deleted the page, claim TV channels.
Arvind Kejriwal had demanded an inquiry into business dealings between Vadra and his companies and real estate giant DLF.
Kejriwal had alleged that DLF gave interest free loan of Rs 65 crore to Vadra. The company as well as Vadra had denied the allegations.
Even as Robert Vadra on Sunday described allegations of having received "undue favours" from reality major DLF as "entirely baseless", "defamatory" and aimed at maligning his family, Kejriwal said the businessman had avoided questions on his links with the company.
The Congress on Sunday continued to target Kejriwal and his associates in India Against Corruption (IAC) over allegations against Vadra while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said the Congress should "clear the situation" instead of trying to run down the activists.
Breaking his silence on the controversy, Vadra said he was a private, law-abiding citizen who has been engaged in business over the last 21 years.
"The allegations levelled against me by Shri Kejriwal and Shri Bhushan are utterly false, entirely baseless and defamatory. My business transactions are fully reflected in financial statements filed before appropriate government authorities in compliance with the law," Vadra said in a statement to NDTV, which was posted on the news channel's website.
He said the statements were available in the public domain to anyone interested in knowing the truth. "I am saddened by the attempt of Shri Kejriwal and Shri Bhushan to deliberately misrepresent numbers contained in my financial statements, manufacture lies and malign my family in order to gain cheap publicity for them and for the launch of their political party," Vadra said.
Following allegations by Kejriwal and Bhushan, Vadra had Saturday posted on his Facebook page that he could handle all negativity.
"Thanks for the concern, I can handle all the negativity. I have lost people I loved. What can be worse than that," Vadra had posted.
Kejriwal said Sunday: "He (Vadra) is hiding behind DLF and the Congress and questioning our motive. He should come in the open and clarify charges against him as he has not yet responded to specific questions asked by us."
He said Vadra had questioned our motives that was not "important" but had "not replied to the questions that we have raised".
The activist said he was ready for any action including possible defamation case. "We all live in a democracy and some genuine questions are raised by us. The son-in-law of the most powerful person in the country should address the issue and he is not doing it and is shooting the messenger," Kejriwal said.
The activist said DLF had issued a response which is "full of half truths and lies".
He claimed a lot of information had been suppressed and asked if Vadra stood by the DLF response or had another version.
He said he will not be able to respond to the specific issues in DLF's response as his team was working on it.
BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said: "Instead of hurling allegations and defending (Vadra), the Congress should make the picture clear. It is no more the issue of an individual as the Congress is defending him. If the Congress party thinks the allegations are baseless, appropriate legal steps should be taken."
"Appropriate legal option is there for both the parties," Naqvi added.
Congress spokesperson Raashid Alvi defended Vadra and accused Kejriwal of trying to malign the entire system. He said Kejriwal and his associates wanted cheap publicity.
"Whatever they say, is it true? DLF has issued a clarification but they are not ready to accept," Alvi said. He alleged that activists were not ready to go to court and had apprehensions about a legal verdict and work of investigative agencies.
"It is unfortunate to talk like this, raise questions on the entire system. What do you want. Is it jungle raj," Alvi asked.
He said if IAC members have proof, they can go to court or ask for inquiry but cannot make baseless allegations.
Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan on Friday alleged that Vadra had bought properties worth over Rs.300 crore between 2007 and 2010 with an interest-free unsecured loan of Rs.65 crore provided by DLF. They claimed that the properties were given at undervalued rates in exchange of favours allegedly received from Congress state governments in Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi.
DLF Saturday refuted the charge. The company said it had business dealings with Vadra's companies and denied there was any quid pro quo.
Arvind Kejriwal on Monday tweeted that he will respond at 5 pm on Tuesday to clarifications sought by DLF.