New Delhi: Miffed with the attack on Sonia Gandhi, Congress on Thursday hit back at BJP saying failure to nab the culprits in the VVIP chopper scam in the past two years showed how 'incompetent' the Narendra Modi dispensation is.
Seeking to downplay the names of Congress leaders being allegedly involved in the scam, the party reminded BJP that two decades ago, the Hawala case against BJP veteran L K Advani was quashed in a Supreme Court monitored investigation despite his name appearing in the Jain diaries.
"Are we living in a banana republic? Bribe has flown, so senior most person is guilty?" party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi asked at the AICC briefing close on the heels of BJP chief Amit Shah's attack on Gandhi.
Insisting the BJP was "completely misleading" in the matter, he said the ruling party was "too clever by half" and deserved to apologise to the nation for the 'irresponsible' allegations.
"Shah as president of the BJP is expected to be more responsible. It is a vote of no confidence by the president of BJP in his own government" as it has failed to come out with any concrete finding in the probe in the last 24 months, Singhvi said.
Taking any names in the scam is like 'tilting at windmills' on the basis of four references on some paper, he said the description referred to the "movers and shakers of Indian politics like A, B, C and there is any remotest suggestion".
When asked about a question about Ahmed Patel, political secretary to the Congress President, Singhvi said "there could be 20 APs in Somalia, Italy and France" saying it was 'not even an allegation' as these are 'unverified notings'. He claimed the whole thing is that the government and the BJP "wants to keep the pot boiling" and that is why a Rajya Sabha seat has been given to Subramanian Swamy, who is known as a 'Gandhi basher'.
Singhvi also spoke in similar vein on the BJP attack on former Finance Minister P Chidambaram in the Aircel-Maxis case in the Lok Sabha yesterday. "It is a Goebbelsian technique. First there is a leak from department concerned and then friendly newspaper publishing it." He claimed the main aim is sensationalism, allow the pot boiling and does not allow completion of a probe so that the real culprit goes away.
Gandhi had yesterday rejected as 'baseless' allegations linking her and party leaders to bribes in the chopper deal, calling these an attempt at character assassination.
Asked whether Congress leaders would appear before any inquiry, Singhvi said the exercise should 'not be hostile and malicious'. He said in a criminal case, the police does not require consent to interrogate.
When asked about statements made by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar about blacklisting of AgustaWestland, he said if the minister said that in Parliament, he could face a breach of privilege.