A week after he claimed he had “information” on the “personal corruption” of the prime minister, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday alleged that Narendra Modi, as Gujarat chief minister, had taken money from the Sahara and Birla groups and sought an an independent probe into the matter.
Addressing a rally in Mehsana in the prime minister’s home state, Rahul alleged that in the Income Tax records there were notings of Sahara officials’ claims that they had paid Modi nine times between October 2013 and February 2014, and that the amount was R40 crore.
He said the related papers were with the I-T department which had raided the company when Modi was Gujarat CM. He also alleged that, as per the documents with the I-T department, the Birla group also paid R12 crore to Modi when he was CM. Wondering why there had been no probe in the matter so far, Rahul demanded an independent inquiry.
Rahul’s allegations were an echo of what Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal told the Delhi Assembly on November 15. Citing the same papers, Kejirwal had alleged: “These people give money to Modiji and in return, Modiji saves them from Income Tax.”
Rahul said he was raising the issue on behalf of the country which needed answers on questions raised about the PM. “You (Modi) did not allow me to speak in Parliament… you did not want to face me in the House. I will tell you the reason. Any business entity keeps record of its transactions. On November 2014, Income Tax department conducted raids on Sahara, a very large corporate house,” Rahul said.
“During the raid, I-T department found some documents, which are on record. I want to share with you the contents of those documents. There were several entries in those documents, which I am reading out before you,” he said. He then alleged that another record suggested that the Birla Group gave R12 crore to ‘Gujarat Chief Minister’. “This record is with I-T department since last 2.5 years. I-T even recommended an inquiry be conducted in this issue. I want to ask you why no such inquiry was done? We want to know whether it is true that money was given to you nine times by Sahara?” Rahul asked.
“You doubted the honesty of citizens, their hard-earned income, and made them stand in the queues. Now, on behalf of citizens, I am asking you whether the information is true or not. And if it is true, then when will you set up an inquiry,” he said. Quoting its leader, the Congress tweeted after the rally: “Prime Minister Modi takes bribes and then shamelessly foists demonetisation on Indians under the garb of ‘fighting Black Money’.”
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted: “Rahulji asks if Modiji received this money from Sahara or not? If this document is with I-T, will Modi now investigate it?”.