BJP rejects demand for Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's resignation
The party also dismissed the claims of Congress leader P.L. Punia, who told the media that Jaitley and fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya met in the Central Hall of Parliament before the latter fled the country on March 2, 2016
Rejecting Rahul Gandhi's demand for resignation of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the BJP on Thursday sought to turn the tables by asking Congress President to quit from his post because of his alleged involvement in the National Herald case.
The party also dismissed the claims of Congress leader P.L. Punia, who told the media that Jaitley and fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya met in the Central Hall of Parliament before the latter fled the country on March 2, 2016.
"Rahul Gandhi, who is facing serious criminal charges, should first resign. The people of the country should thank Arun Jaitley, who is working to bring the money back which was looted during the Congress rule," Union Minister Piyush Goyal told a press conference in response to a question over Gandhi's demand for Jaitley's resignation.
"Those, who took loans from hawala companies and accumulated wealth by taking government land free of cost or at lower rate from National Herald and whose case was rejected by the Delhi High Court, should resign first," he added.
The senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader was responding to the charges made by Rahul Gandhi, who demanded Jaitely's resignation after accusing him of colluding with fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya "and giving him a free passage" to flee the country.
Gandhi asked why the Minister did not inform the investigating agencies about Mallya's plans to leave India.
Responding to the charges, Goyal said that comments of a criminal or a person who is under the glare of law cannot be taken for any credibility.
"It was a one-way traffic. He (Mallya) was trying to talk to somebody in the passage. By that logic, I was watching Twitter. Lots of people have put up photographs where Rahul Gandhi was seen with Arun Jaitley. I don't think we can run away from Rahul Gandhi because he is a person accused of fraud of huge amount and high court has also dismissed his plea," he said.
The BJP leader dubbed the charges levelled by Congress MP Punia as "incredulous" and suggested he appear before the investigative agencies. He claimed that Punia was forced to speak under pressure.
"Where was he for the last two-and-half years. He should respond to the investigation agencies. Two-and-half-years later he remembers the conversation, the time and a so-called meeting which never took place. One suddenly raises questions on the credibility...a party colleague of Rahul Gandhi is making such incredulous claims," he said.
Punia had claimed the meeting between Jaitley and Mallya lasted 15-20 minutes and alleged that Mallya took Jaitley's permission after holding consultations with him about his planned flight abroad.
The Union Minister for Railways said that the Narendra Modi government never interferes in the work of investigative agencies.
"This government has acted the most against bank defaulters. I think this government took such steps to get the money back looted during Congress rule...," he said.
Showing video clips of the statements made by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi in 2010, which showed that the then government was trying to get Kingfisher out of trouble, the BJP leader accused the Congress of breaking rules to pave the way for restructuring loans to Mallya.
"How since 2010, the Congress and the Gandhi family were having their say in the government? The PM also then said that they wanted to bail out Kingfisher airlines. This proves they allowed the loot... Congress, the Prime Minister, then Aviation Minister were also involved in the conspiracy to save Kingfisher Airlines," he said.
"The Congress party should clarify what relations they had with Kingfisher Airlines. This shows the propensity to which the Congress can lie to cover up their sins," he said.
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