Congress hits back at BJP, questions Vajpayee`s letter to Rao

In tit-for-tat remarks, Congress on Sunday questioned the then Leader of the Opposition Atal Bihari Vajpayee`s communication to Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao in connection with the Bofors investigation case.

Updated: Jan 09, 2011, 21:19 PM IST

New Delhi: In tit-for-tat remarks, Congress on Sunday questioned the then Leader of the Opposition Atal Bihari Vajpayee`s communication to Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao
in connection with the Bofors investigation case.

"Would it be appropriate using the same yardstick of
the BJP to say that Vajpayee was tainted by association,"
Congress spokesman Manish Tewari asked as BJP attacked Sonia
Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Bofors and 2G
spectrum issues.

In 1992, Vajpayee had written to Rao on accepting the
offer made by Hinduja brothers to Indian investigators to look
into one of the Swiss Bank accounts into which the alleged
Bofors payoffs were made.

The letter had then kicked up a controversy as the issue
came up for discussion in Parliament. It was later learnt that
the bank account was not the one related to Bofors.

Tewari said "the BJP should tell the nation as to what
were the impelling circumstances which made the then Leader of
the Opposition to directly intervene with the Prime Minister
of India on behalf of some of the accused in the Bofors case".

Ridiculing the BJP`s attempts to target Sonia, Tewari
said that opposition party has since 1987 been "raising the
ghost of Bofors and feeling ecstatic after slaying it".

Another Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said
the BJP, by raising Bofors and 2G spectrum issue, was trying
to divert attention from "RSS` complicity in terrorism" by
levelling such accusations.

"These are things being done deliberately to digress and
divert attention from documented investigation reports showing
full complicity of RSS in terrorism," Singhvi said.

The BJP at its national executive meet in Guwahati on Sunday
decided to go the whole hog after the Congress first family,
alleging that Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi`s
involvement in the pay-offs lead "directly to the doorstep of
Sonia Gandhi".

BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman also sought a
clarification from the Gandhi family on its relations with
Quattrocchi and his dealings.

Besides, she said the assertions of former Telecom
Minister A Raja and Suresh Kalmadi, chairman of the
Commonwealth Games Organising Committee that they had obtained
"due clearances" for cost escalations, lead to the "doorsteps
of the PMO".

While maintaining that "for 23 years not an iota has been
found about Congress or Rajiv Gandhi in the case," Singhvi
said the party has "nothing to say or do with regard to action
taken according to law in respect of other indivduals like Win
Chadda, Hinduja and Quattrocchi".

On BJP pointing fingers at PMO, the Singhvi said, "the
BJP is a minority on this planet to dream that even remotely
the Prime Minister`s Office is in any way connected with the
2G."

PTI