Jaitley returns fire with graft charges

  • Shekhar Iyer, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
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  • Updated: Mar 28, 2014 01:15 IST

Amritsar is hotting up with charges and counter-charges. The Congress pats itself for fielding Capt Amarinder Singh to make things tough for Arun Jaitley, while BJP veteran has chosen to make it even tougher for Singh.

Jaitley is brandishing documents — being sent to him from Singh’s rivals from his own party and others — on the decisions during his tenure as Punjab CM from 2002 to 2007.

He told HT: “I thought we could have a decent fight, but he has chosen to make it otherwise. We are ready to go on the offensive.” “I went through the details of a charge-sheet filed by the Vigilance Bureau on a 2005 project in Ludhiana,” Jaitley said in his campaign diary on Thursday. Jaitley, whose family has also shifted to Amritsar to join the campaign, charged that Singh had removed the chairman of the Improvement Trust in Ludhiana so that a “more pliable” man could be appointed.

“The bidding documents were prepared without the necessary approvals. The bids were rigged in favour of a particular bidder,” he said, alleging that the charge-sheet also mentions that the trail of the money paid to the CM and his family led them to a particular middleman with whom the money were parked.

What’s more, the charge-sheet states that Singh kept the report in his custody without taking any action and did not hand over the original report to the authorities after demitting office.

Singh, of course, dismissed the charge, saying that it was a clear case of political vendetta unleashed by his allies. Jaitley believes that Singh, who was forced to contest by the Congress chief, “is now making up for his initial reluctance by appearing to be on the offensive”.

First, he dubbed Jaitley as an “outsider.” To which, Jaitley responded by asking him to name the state to which his party chief belonged. Later, the issue of Operation Bluestar became the bone of contention.

Singh’s latest salvo was that Jaitley did not want the BJP to win more than 160 seats to queer the pitch for PM nominee Narendra Modi. He claimed that people like Jaitley hoped that in case BJP got less than 160 seats, it would be difficult for Modi to become the PM. Jaitley dismissed it as a bundle of lies.


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