BJP leader Sushma Swaraj's "mota maal" remark continued to reverberate with RJD leader Lalu Prasad on Tuesday accusing the party of having made mega-bucks from the mining barons, the Reddy brothers of Karnataka, while she instead accused the Congress of benefitting.
"With regard to the mota maal (mega-bucks) remark by BJP leader Sushma Swaraj, we want to know who used to take mota maal from the Reddy brothers of Karnataka," the Rashtriya Janata Dal leader told reporters in New Delhi.
In the evening, Sushma Swaraj hit back, tweeting that it was the Congress that had made the money by allocating mining rights to the Reddy brothers, who are accused of large scale illegal mining.
"I want to tell them and the country that they are the ones who got the mota maal from the Reddy brothers," the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader tweeted.
She said the Reddy brothers, one of who is in jail, got all the mining rights "on recommendation from Congress chief ministers and it was given by the Congress government".
Sushma Swaraj also demanded that all the documents relating to the economic benefits accruing to the Reddy brothers be made public.
The BJP leader had on Monday alleged that the Congress had made "mota maal" from the coal blocks allocation which the government auditor has faulted for allegedly causing huge loss to the exchequer.
Lalu Prasad, whose RJD supports the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), told reporters outside the Parliament House that the BJP governments in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh had allowed massive mining in their states and should be questioned.
"Let's have a discussion on all this first. The BJP does not want a discussion on their own states," he added.
On Monday, finance minister P Chidambaram had rejected Sushma Swaraj's allegation that the Congress party was paid bribes in allocation of coal blocks during 2004-08. Referring to the Hindi phrase "mota maal", he had said: "I think such phrases should be avoided."
The Reddy brothers, two of who are former state ministers in Karnataka, are accused of illegal mining. One of them, Janardhana Reddy, has been in prison since Sep 5 last year. Karnataka is ruled by the BJP.
The BJP is demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over a CAG report faulting the government over allocation of coal blocks.