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'Is it natural for Congress to deal with money launderers?': Smriti Irani's frontal attack on Rahul Gandhi

Irani's attack came over allegations that former Union Minister Kapil Sibal may have benefitted in a deal with an alleged money launderer.

'Is it natural for Congress to deal with money launderers?': Smriti Irani's frontal attack on Rahul Gandhi

NEW DELHI: BJP leader Smriti Irani launched a scathing attack on Congress leader Kapil Sibal and his party chief Rahul Gandhi, over allegations that Sibal may have purchased property in Delhi worth crores of rupees for throwaway prices from a known money launderer.

The allegations pertain to a report in partisan news website OpIndia, which pointed to investigative reports being prepared by a South African NGO into allegations of crony capitalism and a nexus between former South African President Jacob and Indian-origin businessmen, the Gupta Brothers.

The report had said Sibal and his wife purchased a company called Grande Castello, which owned property in Delhi worth about Rs 89 crore. The allegation of foul play is that the Sibals may have paid only Rs 1 lakh, which is the paid up capital of the company. The report also pointed to the involvement of a businessman named Piyoosh Goyal, who was being investigated by the CBI for money laundering.

Irani launched a broadside at the Congress over these allegations, focusing more on the ethics of it than the actual nuts and bolts of the allegations. "While people might say Mr Sibal has the right to buy and engage with a so-called, alleged money launderer, the question I would like to pose is, is this politically acceptable to Shri Rahul Gandhi?" she said.

"Is it so natural for the Congress leadership today to embrace money launderers? Is it so natural for the Congress leadership to shake hands with those that they had investigated for bribery? If that is the context in which the Congress views its partnerships and business relationships, then need I say more? They have upped the ante themselves by accepting that, 'Yes, we don't mind embracing money launderers'."

Sibal, however, refuted the allegations made by Smriti Irani and said this was an attempt to divert attention from issues of national importance such as the CBSE paper leak.  

The political slugfest comes at a time when the Congress chief is locked in heated verbal battles with the Narendra Modi government in multiple issues.