Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi stirred a political storm on Wednesday, accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of taking Rs 52 crore from two corporate houses when he was Gujarat chief minister, a charge rubbished by the ruling BJP.
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.
Gandhi’s allegations came a week after he claimed at a press conference that he was not being allowed to speak in Parliament because he had proof of “personal corruption” of the PM, which, if he was allowed to present, would cause an earthquake.
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.
Congress chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala addressed a press conference later to back Gandhi’s charge, saying if such allegations had surfaced against any other Indian, there would have been a CBI investigation.
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.
Delhi chief minister Kejriwal demanded that the Prime Minister resign like LK Advani did after his name figured in Jain Hawala diary.
“Supreme Court should take suo motu cognizance of the matter and set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) with all powers to probe the charges against Modi,” he said.
“Rahul Gandhi mustered the courage today. Congress is following us,” the AAP leader said.
“Serious charges of indulging in personal-political corruption while sermonising against black money-corruption is Modi’s trademark hypocrisy,” tweeted Left leader Sitaram Yechury.