Congress leader Rahul Gandhi alleged on Wednesday that corporates paid crores as bribes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2013-14 when he was Gujarat’s chief minister, prompting the BJP to say that his claims were baseless.
His allegation, questioning the integrity of the Prime Minister who rode to power two years ago promising a corruption-free government, came a week after he said he knew about “personal corruption” by Modi, but didn’t reveal details.
“About nine payments were made to Narendra Modi within a span of six months,” the Congress leader said at a rally in the Prime Minister’s home state that votes for a new assembly next winter.
“This has been noted by the income tax department. Modiji should answer whether it is true or false?”
Speaking in front of a huge crowd in Gujarat’s Patidar heartland, he demanded an independent inquiry into income tax papers involving two business houses that alleged to have paid Modi.
In New Delhi, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the ruling party was perturbed and “they did not answer whether or not Modi took money”.
He said the office of a corporate house was raided in October 2013 and an email recovered from the laptop of a top official of that company had entries of payments to Modi. It was a joint operation by the income tax and the CBI and the former initiated a probe.
“I-T department requested for all the papers from the CBI. CBI refused. I-T department then went to the SC, which asked for all documents to be furnished,” Surjewala said.
But the response from the BJP was swift. Asserting that Modi is “pure as Ganga”, the ruling party said Gandhi was trying to divert attention from the VVIP chopper scam in which his family’s name has cropped up, a charge the Congress rebutted.
At a hurriedly convened press conference, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad dismissed the charges against Modi as false, baseless, shameless and malafide. “The Congress did not spare the sky, space, land, under the land and even sea in corruption. Rahul, who is on bail in the Rs 5,000-crore National Herald case, is now questioning Modi who is pure like Ganga,” he said.
Asked if the PM would take legal recourse against Gandhi for defaming him, Prasad said the party had more faith in the people of India. People have stopped giving TRP to Rahul. Media should also think,” he said.
The minister called Gandhi a “patron of corruption” who was trying to divert attention from the family’s role in the VVIP chopper deal case.