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New Radia revelations embarrass BJP, spark row

The BJP, which has threatened to bring the UPA government to its knees with its spirited anti-corruption campaign, suddenly found itself on the back foot on Friday. HT reports.

delhi Updated: Dec 25, 2010 01:33 IST
HT Correspondent

The BJP, which has threatened to bring the UPA government to its knees with its spirited anti-corruption campaign, suddenly found itself on the back foot on Friday.

A former business partner of Niira Radia, allegedly one of the main players in the 2G spectrum scam, claimed the lobbyist had fixed deals with BJP leader Ananth Kumar when he was a minister in the NDA government.

Cornered so far, the Congress came out attacking and demanded Kumar's resignation. Rao Dheeraj Singh, Radia's former partner, told a TV news channel on Thursday that Kumar had passed cabinet documents to Radia.

Singh also said the NDA allotted Radia a plot of land for a trust, and gave details of her Swiss bank account.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said: "Radia had close relations with the prime minister's office during the NDA rule through a close relative of the PM. Why was Radia's trust allotted land in Delhi? Who gave the land and on what basis? Did LK Advani attend the shilanyas ceremony of the trust because he was impressed by Radia's work?"

"When will Ananth Kumar be removed as general secretary? Will the BJP hold an anti-corruption rally at his residence? Will the BJP disrupt Parliament on this issue?" he added.

Kumar dismissed the claims as "completely false" while his party colleague Arun Jaitley said: "A news organisation has made serious allegations against some of our senior leaders, which have come to the rescue of the Congress…"

"It is unethical on the part of the channel to take the version of a person with a personal score to settle… That person happens to be closely related to a senior Congress leader," Jaitley said.

Singh had a falling out with Radia and was even jailed for allegedly kidnapping her son in 2003.

"The NDA never allotted any land to her, Mr Advani never attended any function of any trust connected with this lady," Jaitley said.

"About the allegations of cabinet papers, what papers were leaked isn't mentioned. It is said Mr Ananth Kumar put funds in a Swiss account but about which account, nothing has been said."

The BJP has advised Kumar to take legal action "against the maker and broadcaster of the allegations".