New Delhi: The NDA government on Monday strongly defended the Cabinet expansion undertaken yesterday in the wake of "taint" charges raised against some of the inductees by Congress, saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had chosen his team after "checking the credentials and the facts related to each one of them".
Reacting sharply to Congress's attack on Modi over the Cabinet expansion, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that "the entire charge of Congress is baseless".
He also added that unlike UPA, the NDA Prime Minister has the "last word" in selecting his ministers and expanding his Cabinet.
Dismissing allegations against his ministerial colleagues, including Ram Shankar Katheria, Jaitley said he is a senior leader from Uttar Pradesh and claimed that "every BJP worker in the state has a criminal case filed by the Akhilesh Yadav government".
He also rejected Congress allegations against the TDP face in the government, YS Chowdary, and BJP's newly-inducted minister, Giriraj Singh.
"The examples given by them are completely baseless... These are cases arising out of political agitations. Not cases out of some crime or moral turpitude," Jaitley said.
"They said TDP representative Chowdary has Non-Performing Assets of his company. One of his many companies -- he is a well-known industrialist -- was making losses. One account was in difficulty. The bank restructured it; he is paying back all the instalments (and) has a regular account today," said Jaitley.
He asked Congress to "confine itself to quality of poor governance that they gave and compare it with the quality of governance the NDA government is giving rather than resorting to these baseless allegations".
"During the UPA government, the prime minister never had the last word in the formation of the Cabinet or its expansion. In the NDA, it is a different trend. The last word is exclusively that of the prime minister," he said.
Following the Cabinet expansion, AICC General Secretary Ajay Maken had sought the resignation of Chowdary citing bank documents that claimed that his company had defaulted on the repayment of loans worth Rs 317.6 crore taken from the Central Bank of India.
Maken had also alleged that Katheria has mentioned 23 cases against him in the affidavit he has filed with the Election Commission.