New Delhi: Congress on Friday dismissed BJP's demand that Rahul Gandhi apologise for his remarks against External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, saying he has done nothing wrong in accusing her of committing a criminal act.
Rahul has "never said that she should be sent to jail", Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi asserted and also derided BJP's attack against Rahul's brother-in-law Robert Vadra, saying they are "flogging a dead horse".
BJP had raked up the Vadra issue in the Lok Sabha yesterday seeking action against him for breach of privilege for a Facebook post "running down" Parliament.
Singhvi, who is also an eminent advocate, suggested that Swaraj was guilty under a certain section in the Prevention of Corruption Act which says that money necessarily should not change hands for committing such an offence.
Taking a dig at Swaraj, he said that the courts will decide whether a "humanitarian gesture" to help Lalit Modi is done "in hiding and keeping the foreign ministry in the dark".
He said that Rahul has "never said that she should be sent to jail.... We are not here to judge you, prosecute you".
BJP today threatened to file criminal defamation case against the Congress Vice-President for his remarks terming Swaraj's actions in the Lalit Modi issue as a "criminal act".
"Rahul Gandhi using these words is very unfortunate, undemocratic. And because of these words, I am demanding that Rahul Gandhi should apologies to the country because it is not only defaming Sushma Swaraj, but defaming the Foreign Minister of the country, who is the representative of India in the world," Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said.
Congress has been demanding that Swaraj and Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje step down for assisting controversial former IPL chief Lalit Modi with travel documents and an immigration application. It had also sought resignation of Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Chauhan over the Vyapam recruitment scam.
Party chief Sonia Gandhi today held consultations with senior leaders over the strategy ahead after the first week of Parliament was paralysed over the demand.
Later at the AICC briefing, Singhvi insisted that the obligation of running Parliament lies solely with Government.
At the same time, he said "if conditions are conducive, we are ready to take 2 steps if you take 1 step".
Noting that the PM should have sent an unequivocal message but has done nothing, he said, "Can you imagine the PM of any big or small country being silent if there are 40 deaths in the country".
He said deaths in the Vyapam Scam have occurred well outside the boundary of Madhya Pradesh and therefore the issue could be discussed in Parliament.
"Even while clamouring for discussion the government of the day is saying that the discussion would not be on Vyapam", he said.
On the Vadra issue, Singhvi said the "BJP is flogging a dead horse, let them flog".
He steered clear of a question whether Congress was supporting Vadra as a delegation of party leaders had met Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan yesterday after the issue was raised.