BJP defends Joshi, calls him a 'sage' politician

New Delhi/Allahabad: BJP on Saturday defended party veteran Murli Manohar Joshi against allegations by NRI businessman Anshuman Mishra that he sought to meet officials of companies involved in 2G spectrum scam, dismissing the charges as "false" and "baseless".

It also described 78-year-old Joshi, who is the Chairman of Parliament's Public Accounts Committee(PAC) that also probed the 2G scam, as a 'sage' politician who is a symbol of crusade against corruption.

Joshi himself rejected the charges saying they were an outcome of the "frustration" he must be experiencing following the denial of Rajya Sabha ticket from Jharkhand.

"My party has already given a befitting reply to the slander of Anshuman Mishra who has been sulking ever since his hopes of becoming a Rajya Sabha member were dashed.

Thereafter, he has been training his guns at one BJP leader after another. His first target was Advani, then he went after some other party leaders and now he has chosen me for his diatribe", Joshi told reporters in Allahabad.

BJP spokesperson Tarun Vijay claimed that those who were in the forefront of demanding action in corruption cases are now being targeted because of ulterior motives.

"It is our fervent request to media not to give any credence to such wild allegations which do not have an iota of truth. Dr Joshi is a rishi (sage) politician, a symbol of crusade against corruption," Vijay told reporters in Delhi.

Congress' Sanjay Nirupam said Joshi should step down as PAC Chief even if there is an iota of truth in the allegations.

Mishra, who withdrew his candidature for the Rajya Sabha from Jharkhand after BJP withdrew its support to him, has claimed to have introduced Joshi to senior executives of 2G scam accused companies when the panel was probing the spectrum case.

The NRI businessman has claimed that he was the BJP's fund-raiser for over a decade and said that Joshi called him seeking funds for elections. Mishra also claimed to have played a role in Joshi's poll campaign in 2004 and 2009.

To a query, Joshi asserted he had "strongly opposed" giving a Rajya Sabha ticket to Mishra when his opinion was sought.

Anshuman alleged while talking to Star News that BJP leader Arun Jaitley considered him as a threat since he is also an "accomplished lawyer".

He asked whether Jaitley can deny that he spoke to him several times ahead of 2009 Lok Sabha elections apparently to seek help and alleged that the BJP leader "manipulates" the media.

Targeting Yashwant Sinha again, Anshuman said he came from another party.

The NRI businessman said all political parties take help during elections and claimed he had also helped BJP with funds from his friends.