In remarks targeting Congress President Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday claimed the Opposition party defines “family corruption” by “institutionalising” corruption, PTI reported. Union minister Smriti Irani alleged Robert Vadra is “merely a mask” in suspect land deals, while Gandhi was the real face.
Vadra, the husband of Priyanka Gandhi, is being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate for alleged money laundering. Vadra is alleged to have used laundered money to buy real estate in the United Kingdom. He is also being investigated in the Bikaner land scam case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
Irani’s remarks came a day after a media report claimed links between Gandhi and fugitive arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari, an aide of Vadra currently under the radar of investigative agencies. In 2016, the Enforcement Directorate had booked Bhandari based on a complaint by the Income Tax Department and the Delhi Police about his alleged involvement in controversial land and defence deals.
“It was known in our country that institutionalising corruption was the very ethos and essence of the Congress party,” Irani told reporters at a press conference. “Yesterday, news reports brought to fore the family package of corruption emanating from the Gandhi-Vadra nexus.”
The Union minister claimed that Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had purchased land in a deal involving a person called HL Pahwa, who was raided by the Enforcement Directorate. She said, citing the report, Pahwa was lent money by a Dubai-based businessman named CC Thampi, who is friends with Bhandari. Thampi’s name has appeared in the investigation of a petroleum deal under the United Progressive Alliance government, and controversial land transactions in Delhi-NCR, she added.
Irani demanded that Rahul Gandhi answer about his relations with Pahwa in the controversial land transactions. “The nation has come to a conclusion that Rahul Gandhi’s intervention in the defence preparedness of our country stems from his pursuit not only of individual politics but his personal commercial interests, his personal family interests,” she said, according to ANI.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala denied the allegations. “Facing imminent defeat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his favourites are resorting to levelling completely baseless and fake allegations,” Surjewala said, according to PTI.