Rahul Gandhi ac­cuses In­dia’s PM Modi of be­ing paid bribes

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

NEW DELHI: Lead­ing op­po­si­tion fig­ure Rahul Gandhi de­manded an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into al­le­ga­tions that two In­dian con­glom­er­ates paid mil­lions of ru­pees as bribes to Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi in 2013-14 when he was gov­ern­ing a western state.

Gandhi, the Congress Party vice pres­i­dent and scion of In­dia’s Nehru-Gandhi fam­ily, said the al­le­ga­tions were found in diary notes and com­puter records of the Sa­hara Group and the Birla Group and were in pos­ses­sion of in­come tax author­i­ties. “Why these ac­cu­sa­tions are not be­ing probed?” Gandhi asked Wednesday at a party meet­ing in Gu­jarat state. Modi was the state’s top elected of­fi­cial be­fore he be­came prime min­is­ter in May 2014.

Gandhi said in his speech that tax author­i­ties had looked into the al­le­ga­tions and fa­vored a full in­ves­ti­ga­tion. But the gov­ern­ment has not con­firmed that and Sa­hara and Birla have not com­mented on the al­le­ga­tions. “We want an in­de­pen­dent in­quiry. We want you (Modi) to come for­ward and tell the coun­try your­self,” Gandhi de­manded.

G. V. L. Nar­simha Rao, a spokesman for Modi’s Hindu na­tion­al­ist Bharatiya Janata Party, dis­missed Gandhi’s ac­cu­sa­tions as base­less and asked him to file a crim­i­nal case against Modi.

Ear­lier this month, Gandhi ac­cused Modi and BJP of­fi­cials of not al­low­ing him to speak in par­lia­ment dur­ing the ses­sion that ended last week. Gandhi had claimed he had ev­i­dence of “per­sonal cor­rup­tion of Prime Min­is­ter Modi,” but did not re­veal what it was.

Sam­bit Pa­tra, an­other BJP spokesman, ac­cused Gandhi of “talk­ing ir­rel­e­vant things to stay rel­e­vant” and said his com­ments must be dis­counted. He told re­porters that the al­le­ga­tions had pre­vi­ously been found to be un­sub­stan­ti­ated.

Gandhi has been highly crit­i­cal of Modi’s ban on Nov. 8 of high-value cur­rency notes, which was in­tended to force tax evaders to give up their cash stock­piles but also cre­ated hard­ship for or­di­nary In­di­ans. The sud­den with­drawal of 86 per­cent of In­dia’s cur­rency left cash in short sup­ply, with re­tail sales stum­bling and whole­sale mar­kets in tur­moil. Hun­dreds of mil­lions of peo­ple in In­dia lack bank ac­counts and use cash to pay for every­thing from gro­ceries to hos­pi­tal stays to land pur­chases.

MEHSANA, In­dia: In­dia’s op­po­si­tion Congress party vice-pres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi, cen­ter in white, meets sup­port­ers dur­ing a rally yes­ter­day.

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