BJP demands Congress apology for ‘baseless’ Radia links

Sunday, December 26, 2010

NEW DELHI - The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Sunday demanded an apology from the Congress for levying “baseless allegations” that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government had links with corporate lobbyist Niira Radia.

“Abhishek Manu Singhvi of the Congress party has levied baseless allegations on L.K. Advani that he went for the foundation laying ceremony of Radia’s trust and that that land was given by the NDA government,” BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters.

“However, that land was of the Pejawar Swamy trust and it was given by the P.V. Narasimha Rao government. So we demand an apology from the Congress party,” he said.

The Congress lost no time in hitting back and party spokesperson Manish Tewary said that the BJP cannot “run away” from its links with Radia.

“The allegations which have been levelled are extremely great (sic). And the BJP cannot run away from its links with Niira Radia,” Tewary told reporters here.

“Why had all these stories between Niira Radia and the BJP or the NDA government been appearing in the public space even as far as 10 years ago,” he asked.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi had Friday questioned the BJP’s “silence” over the alleged links between Radia and BJP leader Anant Kumar and alleged that the NDA government allotted land to Radia’s trust and Advani attended the stone-laying function.

“Why was Radia’s trust allotted land in Vasant Kunj in 2002 - at whose instance and under what qualifications? Was Advani impressed with her networking skills that he went to lay the foundation stone of her trust? Did Advani, who time and again speaks so eloquently about Swiss banks, do anything at all about these Zurich bank accounts?” Singhvi had asked.

Singhvi was reacting to remarks by Radia’s former business partner Rao Dheeraj Singh on a TV channel in which Singh claimed that her business prospered under Kumar as union civil aviation minister. Singh has also alleged that Kumar passed sensitive cabinet documents to Radia for her clients when he was a minister in the NDA-led government.

Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley had rubbished the charges as “false allegations” and asserted that the “NDA government never alloted any land to her (Radia) and Advani never attended any function of any trust controlled by that lady”.

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