Targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the CBI row, Congress president Rahul Gandhi Wednesday alleged that its Director Alok Verma was removed because the agency was raising questions over the Rafale fighter jet deal.
Addressing a public rally in Rajasthan’s Jhalawar district, the home turf of Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, Gandhi also alleged that Mehul Choksi deposited money in the bank account of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s daughter.
“The CBI director was removed last night because the agency was raising questions over Rafale,” Gandhi alleged in his Jhalawar rally, adding Verma had asked for documents of the fighter jet deal.
At a press conference in Delhi, Jaitley, however, dismissed as “rubbish” the allegation that Verma was removed because he wanted to look into the Rafale fighter jet deal.
He said the government’s decision to remove Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana is based on the Central Vigilance Commission’s recommendations.
Gandhi said the prime minister sought votes saying he wanted to become the ‘chowkidar’ of the country but “the ‘chowkidar’ committed theft”.
On a poll campaign in Rajasthan ahead of the upcoming December 7 assembly elections, Rahul also went on a 100-km road show from Jhalawar to Kota, addressing meetings on the way.
At Kota, he addressed another rally, making similar allegations.
In Jhalawar, the Congress chief said the prime minister did not waive a single rupee debt of farmers, but he wrote off bad loans worth Rs. 3.5 lakh crore of top 15 businessmen of the country.
“A farmer is called a defaulter (if he is unable to repay the loan) but big businessmen with bad loans are given a red-carpet welcome and banks ask them how they can be helped,” Gandhi claimed.
“Lalit Modi is sitting in London but he gives crores of rupees to the son of your chief minister,” Gandhi alleged while addressing the gathering.
Vijay Mallya left the country after meeting Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Parliament and Choksi deposited money in the ICICI bank account of Jaitley’s daughter, Gandhi alleged.
The Congress chief had earlier accused Jaitley of helping the fugitive diamond merchant escape the country and had alleged that the minister’s daughter and son-in-law received retainership fees from the businessman.
Jaitley’s son-in-law had later issued a statement, saying his law firm had returned the retainership the moment they came to know that the company was involved in a scam.
Gandhi said the previous UPA government started the MGRENGA programme that benefited the poor, but PM Modi called it “bekaar” (useless) scheme.
The Congress president alleged the BJP deceived people and syphoned off hard-earned money of farmers, poor, small businessmen to fill the pockets of the country’s 15-20 big industrialists.
Fuel prices are rising and LPG is getting out of reach of common people. Everything that farmers, the poor and common people purchase is becoming costlier, Gandhi said.
He said both the prime minister and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje reneged on their promise of giving jobs to youths.
“The Congress gave jobs to people through its Rs 35,000-crore MNREGA scheme. Has the prime minister, chief minister, Anil Ambani or Mehul Choksi given you jobs?” he asked the audience.
At Kota, Gandhi asked the people to press the EVM button rather than applauding his speeches.
Gandhi also assured party workers that only deserving candidates would get tickets to contest the upcoming election in Rajasthan.
“The workers are the spine of the Congress and tickets will be given after consultation with them,” he said.
Pointing towards reporters covering the road show, Gandhi asked them to write truthfully without fear, saying “the truth cannot be suppressed”.
He will be addressing Thursday a state-level convention of Mahila Congress at Kota and a public rally in Sikar. PTI