Former Vice President Hamid Ansari on Wednesday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party and a section of the media of spreading “a litany of falsehood” that he had shared sensitive and secret information about the country, reported ANI.

Several media outlets had reported earlier this week on Pakistani journalist Nusrat Mirza’s claims that he had attended several events in Delhi and Aligarh between 2007 to 2010 and handed over information to General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who was Pakistan’s Army chief at that time.

The journalist had confessed to spying for Pakistan’s agency Inter-Services Intelligence during his tours to India, according to India Today. Mirza also claimed that he visited more cities in India than he had permission for.

Ansari’s statement came hours after BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia said that Mirza had claimed in an interview that Ansari invited him to India on five occasions between 2005 and 2011 and shared extremely sensitive and classified information, reported the Hindustan Times.

Citing media reports, Bhatia said that Ansari had invited the Pakistani journalist to attend a conference in India and speak on terrorism and how to fight it in 2010.

“A country known to support terrorism…a person from that country is invited to speak about counterterrorism,” he added. “This is their policy to fight terrorism.”

In his statement, Ansari said that he has been accused of inviting and meeting the journalist as well as betraying national interest when he was the ambassador to Iran.

Ansari said that foreign dignitaries are invited by the vice president are on the advice of the Union government. Specifically on the claims about the 2010 counter-terrorism conference, Ansari said that it is a normal practice for organisers to prepare the list of invitees.

“I never invited him [Mirza] and met him,” said Ansari, who was India’s vice president between 2007 and 2017.

On allegations about when he was the ambassador to Iran, Ansari said that the government had complete knowledge of his work there and he cannot comment about it given national security concerns.

“The government of India has all the information and is the only authority to tell the truth,” he added.

‘Character assassination by BJP’: Congress

Meanwhile, Congress MP Jairam Ramesh said that the allegations levelled by the BJP should be criticised strongly, adding that all information about the 2010 seminar is in public domain.

“The insinuations and innuendos of spokesperson of BJP are character assassination of the worst form,” he said in a statement.

Ramesh also said it was staggering to see at what level Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party colleagues will stoop “to debase public debate and spread their patented brand of lies”.

“It reflects sickness of mind and lack of any form of integrity whatsoever,” the Congress MP added.