March 13, 2019
New Delhi: Against the backdrop on Rafale fighter jet deal case, the BJP on Wednesday sought to turn the tables on Congress President Rahul Gandhi by linking him with arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari and accusing him of working in the interest of his own family.
Addressing media, Union Minister Smriti Irani also alleged that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was also involved in the land scam being investigated by probe agencies in Haryana and Rajasthan.
“It was known in our country that institutionalising corruption was the very essence and ethos of Congress. Yesterday new reports brought to the fore the family package of corruption eminating from Gandhi Vadra Nexus,” Irani said.
She said the news reports have brought to the fore a relation between H.L. Pahwa, alleged to be on the payroll of C.C. Thampi, who is connected to both Sanjay Bhandari and Robert Vadra.
“Gandhi has procured land from H.L. Pahwa through a conduit-representative Mahesh Nagar. Nagar also represented Vadra in land purchasing case under investigation in Haryana and Rajasthan,” she said.
Irani said what was also brought to light was a connection between Pahwa and Vadra in the land purchase as news reports highlight the financial inability of Pahwa to get into a financial arrangement with Gandhi-Vadra family.
“Hence to support the financial relationship, reports have suggested that Pahwa was suitably financed and supported by C.C. Thampi. Investigation have found a money trail between Thampi and Pahwa amounting to Rs 54 crores,” she added.
She said that Thampi was a name that figured in investigation with regard to not only a petroleum deal during UPA but also financial violations with regard to land transaction.
“A relationship between Thampi, arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari is already publicly known. As you already know Sanjay Bhandari’s close link to Vadra is also under investigation for defence deals and his desperate desire to be a party to get the ill gotten fruits of corruption during UPA,” she said.
The Union minister alleged that a commercial relationship existed only between Vadra and Sanjay Bhandar but the “new facts which have come to the fore establishes a relation between Rahul Gandhi and Sanjay Bhandari”.
“Hence the nation has come to a conclusion that Rahul Gandhi’s intervention in the defence preparedness of country stems from his pursuit not only of individual politics but for his commercial interests,” she said.
Seeking answer from Rahul Gandhi, Irani said what was the special commercial relation the Congress President shares with Bhandari, Thami and Pahwa.
“Why is that land owned and purchased by Rahul Gandhi is funded by an arms dealer?” she asked.
Hitting out at Gandhi, she accused him of evading questions about “family package of corruption” and said he uses Narendra Modi as a shield.
“We can imagine the embarrassment Vadra causes him. But today Rahul Gandhi has become huge road block to the Congress itself,” she said.
“Today Gandhi needs to answer. Is he smarting for the defence preparedness of our country because his friend Bhandari did not get a defence deal. Did he sell away the defence need of our country for land,” she said.